Promoting Peace Is The ‘Right Way’ Of Geopolitics – Analysis
By He Jun
On March 10, China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran released a joint statement in Beijing. The statement announced that Saudi and Iranian delegations held successful talks in Beijing from March 6 to 10, and expressed appreciation to the Chinese leadership and government for hosting and supporting the talks.
The three nations announced that Saudi Arabia and Iran reached an agreement to restore diplomatic relations, reopen embassies and representative offices within two months, exchange ambassadors, and explore ways to strengthen bilateral relations.
The joint statement also mentioned that Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to activate their security cooperation agreement signed on April 17, 2001, and their general agreement on cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, technology, science, culture, sports, and youth signed on May 27, 1998. The foreign ministers of the two countries are set to meet to prepare for the exchange of ambassadors and discuss ways to strengthen their relationship. The three countries expressed their commitment to making every effort to promote peace and security in the international region.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi presided over the closing ceremony of the Saudi-Iran Dialogue in Beijing and emphasized its significance. He hailed the restoration of diplomatic relations between is “a victory for dialogue and a victory for peace, and that it is a major piece of good news and a clear signal at a time of turbulence in the world”.
He further noted that, firstly, Ukraine is not the only issue that requires the attention of the international community. There are several other concerns related to peace and people’s livelihoods that need to be addressed by the parties concerned in a timely and appropriate manner. Secondly, no matter how complicated the issues are, and how severe the challenges may seem, as long as dialogues are conducted on an equal footing, with mutual respect, a mutually acceptable solution can surely be found. Thirdly, the fate of the Middle East should be in the hands of the people of the Middle East. The region’s countries must promote the spirit of independence, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and work together to build a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous Middle East.
Wang Yi emphasized that the Saudi-Iran Dialogue in Beijing was based on the consensus among the leaders of China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The dialogue has become a successful practice to implement global security initiatives. He added that China will continue to play a constructive role in addressing the pressing issues in the world today.
On March 10, numerous countries, including Oman, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq, issued statements welcoming the trilateral joint statement of China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also expressed his appreciation to China for facilitating the relevant consultations and welcomed the decision of Iran and Saudi Arabia to restore diplomatic relations. Bloomberg reported a statement from the spokesman for the National Security Council of the U.S. that welcomes any efforts to end the war in Yemen and ease tensions in the Middle East and notes that the U.S. has long encouraged direct talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran to alleviate tensions.
Anna Jacobs, a senior expert on Gulf affairs at the Crisis Group, a renowned nonprofit group, said in an interview with CNBC that the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries is a result of years of negotiations and communication between the two sides, supported by other regional countries. Jacobs also highlighted China’s significant role in promoting the restoration of diplomatic ties, reflecting its new role in the region as a mediator. “For China, this is a huge win”, she said. Al Jazeera predicts that the course of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran will have an impact on the region and may lead to a reduction in tensions in Yemen and Lebanon, given the significant influence of both countries in the region.
However, certain Western media and a few countries have mixed feelings about the progress of this Beijing dialogue. The Wall Street Journal describes this as the “jolting (of) the geopolitics of the Middle East”. According to the Times of Israel, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted, “The restoration of relations between the Saudis and Iran is a serious and dangerous development for Israel that represents an Iranian diplomatic victory. It represents a critical blow to efforts to build a regional coalition against Iran”.
The agreement and decision by Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic ties seven years after the break in diplomatic relations is an important peace-oriented geopolitical development at a time when the war in Ukraine remains a stalemate. The progress made at the Beijing talks in promoting regional peace is certainly a huge contrast to the current international situation, which is dominated by war and geopolitical games. From an objective point of view, China’s facilitation of the re-establishment of peaceful diplomatic relations between two long-standing rival regional powers in the Middle East is indeed a significant event in the geopolitical arena. It also shows once again that, despite the constant geopolitical games based on interests in the world, the search for peace remains an important theme in the development of human society, as peace rather than war is more in line with the needs of humanity’s development.
The conflict in Ukraine has escalated from a “special military operation” to a geopolitical struggle between “NATO + Ukraine” and Russia, and after more than a year, it shows no signs of ending anytime soon. With both sides unwilling to compromise, the war is likely to continue, and there will be no real winner for any participant, whether direct or indirect. However, China’s role in facilitating the Saudi-Iran talks offers a glimpse of an alternative paradigm to a world dominated by geopolitical interests: a paradigm of peace, not war. The pursuit of peace through dialogue is essentially the same principle that China has always adhered to in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
While the long-standing disputes between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the fields of religion, geopolitics, and geo-economics are complex, the talks in Beijing offer a glimmer of hope for future progress. Achieving the agreements reached during the talks requires significant efforts from all parties involved, and in the complex international geopolitical situation, both countries may encounter new obstacles that impede progress toward peace. However, if peace remains the core focus, it will demonstrate to the world that there is a better alternative for humanity than war and that peace is the right way for all nations to coexist.
Final analysis conclusion:
The peace agreement reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Beijing under the mediation of China is a landmark event in the world today. It shows the world that humanity has a better alternative to war, and that is peace, and that is the right way of geopolitics in the long run.
He Jun is a researcher at ANBOUND