China and Iran : Two poles in a coming multi-polar world ?

6 October 2006.

  • Today, the valuable Power and Interest News Report, familiarly known as PINR, has published an article by Dario Christiani on Sino-Iranian relations entitled China and Iran strengthen their bilateral relationship on its website. The general thrust of the article, which to my mind well repays reading, is made clear by its leading paragraph :

    China's decision to send 1,000 soldiers to south Lebanon with the U.N.I.F.I.L. mission is the latest example of Beijing's increased involvement in the Middle East. The overall importance of the broader Middle East for China's geostrategy is growing. China is searching for new regional allies because it wants to pursue strategic aims such as gaining privileged access to crude oil reserves, finding new markets for its products and technology, and competing with the United States for supremacy in an area that is a fundamental part of the international system. Iran seems to be the best ally for such an approach, thus the strategic relationship between the two countries has increased strongly during the past few years.

    All the points raised by Mr Christiani in his article invite further and more extensive analysis, but given the spatial limitations of the form in which it is presented, I found it an excellent synopsis of the motives which impel both parties to the increasingly close relations, examples of which we see almost daily in the quality media (see, e g, the article recently published in the Asia Times on China's involvement in the development of Iran's gas and oil fields and pipeline projects). Below, in any event, the response to Mr Christiani's article I posted to StumbleUpon :

Pointing to the recent and with regard to scale unprecedented decision on the part of the Chinese leadership to send a contingent as large as 1000 soldiers to participate in the UNIFIL mission in South Lebanon as further evidence of China's increasing involvement in Southwest and Central Asia, Dario Christiani here provides us with an, as far as I can judge, reasoned and accurate analysis of the relations now developing between Beijing and Tehran. A further plus is the dispassionate and unbiased nature of his analysis, which distinctly distinguishes it from the counterparts sometimes to be seen in the pages of journals like the New York times and the Washington Post, which, even at their best, are vitiated by direct allusions to the alleged «moral superiority» of the foreign policy manoeuvres of US administrations (given events these last few years in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is difficult to believe that journalists and/or editors really believe in these protestations of US innocence and good will, but they do seem to be necessary to establish credibility in the mainstream media, and besides, the human capacity for self-delusion when the latter ensures both prestige and income is not to be underestimated)....

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