China's Relations with Arabia and the Gulf, 1949-1999

By Mohamed Bin Huwaidin | Go to book overview

7

Summary, conclusions, and some remarks for future relations

The discussion suggests that the foreign policy of the PRC towards the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula region during the past half a century had exhibited a certain dynamism and an evolving trend. We have argued that China's foreign policy towards the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula region has changed according to changes in China's relations with Washington and Moscow and in China's own domestic economic needs-namely, increasing its demand for oil. Many changes in China's foreign policy toward the region have been introduced to accommodate changes in China's relations with the United States and the Soviet Union and in China's economic requirements. In the first forty years of China's interactions with the region-namely, from late 1949 to the end of the 1989-China's foreign policy was closely connected to its relations with both superpowers and to its policy of excluding Taiwan politically from the region. Since 1990, China's relations with the countries of the region has been guided by China's interest in securing a long-term independent oil supplier in order to be able to continue to modernize its economy and sustain a high level of economic growth.

In the first thirty-two years, China lived in a dangerous, but somehow stable, triangular relationship with both superpowers. During the first half of the 1950s, China's national interest was seen to be compatible with that of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp. China saw the United States as the primary enemy that contradicted the newly-established Communist state in the mainland by, first, invading the neighbouring communist regime in North Korea and, second, by protecting the island of Taiwan from Communist China's ambition to gain control of the island. This perception encouraged the Chinese to lean further toward the Soviet Union and form an alliance in the struggle against the United States and the capitalist camp. Thus, China signed a treaty of friendship and an alliance with the Soviet Union that was directed mainly against the United States and its allies in Asia. China also sought to receive all kinds of assistance from the Soviet Union in order to fulfil its own military, economic, and technical needs. Throughout this period, China's foreign policy was directed toward creating a massive negative propaganda, mainly among the socialist states, against the United States, the West, and Japan's policies in Asia and around the

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