US-China relations: Middle East countries under pressure to take sides against Beijing: former Chinese envoy

US-China relations: Middle East countries under pressure to take sides against Beijing: former Chinese envoy

  • Former Chinese ambassador to the region says UAE-Israel agreement part of bigger American bid to isolate Iran
  • US also expected to try to exclude Chinese players from reconstruction of Iraq and Syria, he says

US allies in the Middle East are coming under growing pressure to pick sides against China, posing a challenge to Beijing’s plans for a bigger economic foothold in the region, according to a former senior Chinese diplomat.Hua Liming, China’s ambassador to Iran from 1991-1995, also said a new landmark deal brokered by the United States between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was part of a bigger US strategy to isolate Iran, one of China’s economic partners in the region.

Last week, the UAE became the third Arab state after Egypt and Jordan to recognise Israel, in return for Israel agreeing to suspend a controversial annexation plan of the occupied West Bank.