China and MENA: New interests and approaches

Experts discuss the evolution of China’s engagement with the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the challenges and the successes that it met during this process.

Research event, Panel
2 June 2021 — 1:00PM TO 2:30PM

China’s interests in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have significantly expanded and diversified over time, thereby creating the need for Beijing to find new ways to engage with MENA countries.

Today, the region is not only a key supplier of energy products for the Chinese economy, it is also an increasingly important market for its engineering companies and trade connecting Chinese producers with European markets.

The nexus between economic interests and security policy present as critical challenges to Chinese policymakers more in MENA than anywhere else in the world.

At the same time, the many old and new crises in the region are at the centre of debates about the future of international politics that are crucial to Chinese diplomacy, especially with regards to the future of the norms of sovereignty and of the responsibility to protect. As Chinese interests diversify, so do the tools of statecraft and the ways that Beijing uses to protect and further them.

This webinar is organized by the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa programme in partnership with the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS). 

The event will be held on the record and livestreamed on the MENA Programme Facebook page.


Lina Benabdallah, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University; Senior Associate, Africa Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Courtney Fung, Associate Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong; Associate-in-research, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University; Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House

Andrea Ghiselli, Assistant Professor, School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University; Head of Research, ChinaMed Project

Discussant: Mohammed Al-Sudairi, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Asian Studies Unit, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies

Moderator: Sophie Zinser, Schwarzman Academy Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme and Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

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