The rise of China’s diplomacy in the Middle East raises new policy questions and opportunities for the United States and Israel. While some have suggested that the United States rebalance from its Middle East focus towards Asia, China’s interests in the Middle East have grown considerably. Israel, as a key U.S. ally and with its vibrant economy, may be able to play a role in facilitating long-term Sino-American cooperation in the Middle East. As the region remains mired in a dramatic political transition and escalating tension, promoting regional stability and coexistence are in the interests of Israel, China, the United States and the international community.
In lieu of a February 13 event by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, in partnership with the Israel Institute and the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv—which was cancelled due to inclement weather—panelists held a pre-taped discussion examining a broad range of issues related to opportunities and challenges for trilateral strategic cooperation in the Middle East. These panelists included Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, president of the Israel Institute and Distinguished Fellow in Foreign Policy and the Saban Center at Brookings; Yang Guang, director-general, Institute of West Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Pan Guang, vice president of the Chinese Association of Middle East Studies and professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; and Yoram Evron, director of the China Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.