Will China Play Peacemaker with Its Oil Suppliers Saudi Arabia and Iran?

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China, for some time, has performed a delicate balancing act in the Middle East. As a major importer of oil from two archrivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Beijing has managed to pursue its economic ambitions despite divisive regional politics. However, after Qatar was ostracized by its Gulf neighbors earlier this month due in part to its close ties to Iran, growing Saudi-Iranian tensions could force Beijing to step off the sidelines and become a more active participant in Middle East politics and security.

“China will try to build a firewall between its two large Gulf oil suppliers,” says Gary Grappo, Cipher Brief expert and former U.S. Ambassador to Oman. “Reliable oil is the key, and China will work mightily to prevent politics from interfering.”

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