In light of the recent China-brokered agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to reopen embassies in one another's countries, China is setting up to host a high-level gathering of Iranian officials and Gulf Arab states later this year in Beijing.
The initial idea was presented by Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a regional summit he attended in Riyadh last December. Xi's idea was well received by the 6 leaders of the countries that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who are all eager to lessen tensions with Iran
Beijing had success mending relations between Riyadh and Tehran on Friday after the two capitals cut ties with one another in 2016 and have been rivals in the Middle East ever since, with each backing rival factions in regional conflicts.
As the U.S. influence in Asia consistently diminishes, many in the Global South praised the renewal of diplomatic relations between the two nations, and the agreement was seen as a significant power play by China in becoming a new top power broker in West Asia.
It was made clear during the secret negotiations in Beijing last week that the U.S. has fallen from being seen as a global power broker in the Global South as it was agreed that negotiations would be conducted in Farsi, Arabic, or Mandarin and not in English.
According to the agreement, Riyadh and Tehran have 2 months to work out the remaining details before the foreign ministers of both nations meet to sign a finalized deal. The Iran-GCC summit is expected to place sometime after the finalization of the Iran-Saudi deal.
Friday's agreement outlines that Riyadh agreed to order Iran international to limit critical coverage of Iran, while Tehran agreed to stop encouraging attacks on Saudi Arabia by Yemen's Ansarallah resistance movement.
During a visit to Saudi Arabia in December, Xi urged Arab states to remain "independent and defend their common interests," and added that Beijing "supports Arab states in independently exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and holding their future firmly in their own hands."
Xi also agreed to import more natural gas and oil from Gulf Arab states, while also not interfering with their affairs, something that Washington has not done. The U.S. has long had a policy of interfering in the Gulf Arab states from which it imports oil and natural gas.
With U.S. power and influence dwindling in the Global South, the new Chinese-brokered alliances between Gulf Arab states do not bode well for Washington.
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