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Xie Xiaoyan next to a small Chinese flag. Courtesy of Xinhua/Alamy/Thierry Monass

China as an Offshore Balancer in the Middle East and North Africa

Andrea Ghiselli and Maria Grazia Erika Giuffrida
RUSI Journal, 28 April 2021
China, Middle East and North Africa
China is attempting to weaken US power in the region but falling short of establishing its own sphere of influence.

Ten years after the Arab uprisings, China’s role in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has become more prominent. Andrea Ghiselli and Maria Grazia Erika Giuffrida argue that China has adopted a strategy of offshore balancing to weaken US influence in that region without, however, making evident attempts to establish its own sphere of influence. They analyse China’s approach to Libya, Syria and Iran and draw important conclusions for how to understand China’s approach to regional crises, and regional and extra-regional actors.

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