It is a victory for dialogue and a victory for peace
Like a bolt out of the blue, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced, after a dialogue held in Beijing, that they have reached an agreement to reestablish diplomatic relations. The news shook the world. Many countries expressed their welcome. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement expressing his appreciation to China. Bound to have a positive and far-reaching impact on the security situation in the Middle East, this event provides a major favourable news for the currently turbulent world and sets an examples for solving relevant international problems through peaceful dialogue. This is a successful practice of China's Global Security Initiative, showing China's commitment as a major country and opening a new course of peaceful development for the world.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, two big countries in the Middle East, have been locked in a century-long feud due to religious and other reasons. Having severed their diplomatic ties in recent several years, they were even once on the verge of war. Foreign media once asserted that there was no possibility for these two countries to restore diplomatic ties without the United States to play a leading role. It is because of this, one can imagine how shocking the impact is when the Joint Tripartite Statement by China, Saudi Arabia and Iran was issued. Some commentaries even maintain that its significance could be put on a par with that of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel signed in 1978 and the Oslo Accord between Palestine and Israel in 1993.
How come Saudi Arabia and Iran could strike a détente deal after a century-long feud? Surely, the two countries have their realistic considerations out of their own interests, yet this could not have been done without China playing the role as a mediator. First of all, common interests of the two countries become increasingly greater than their differences. The U.S. has for a long time carried out a division policy in the Middle East. Washington on the one hand adopts the practice of exerting maximum pressure on Iran to comprehensively contain the country, while on the other hand spares no effort to instigate Saudi Arabia to antagonise Iran. Times and things have changed. With subtle changes in U.S.-Saudi Arabia relations, Saudi Arabia has realised that continuing to antagonise Iran becomes increasingly out of accord with its own national interests. Iran also needs to make a breakthrough in its diplomacy. This provides each of them room for manoeuvre to change its policy.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia and Iran reaching an agreement to restore diplomatic ties is accomplished not in one stroke but through a rather long process of negotiations and discussions. As mentioned in the Joint Trilateral Statement released after the Beijing dialogue, Iraq and Oman had earlier also hosted rounds of dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran. And in the past 100 years, quite a few Middle Eastern countries had also made efforts to facilitate reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran but all ended in failure. It is evident that this is not the fundamental reason for the two countries to become reconciled.
A decisive factor lies in the positive role played by China. Different from the "saboteur" role played by the U.S. over a long period of time, China has no self-interest in the Middle East, China respects the "master" status of Middle East countries and is opposed to engaging in geopolitical competition in the Middle East. Maintain friendly relations with Middle Eastern countries extensively, China has over past many years fostered wide-ranging cooperation with them through the Belt and Road Initiative, etc. China's sincerity and pragmatic approach win high recognition in the region.
In December, 2022, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia and successively attended the three Summits between China and Saudi Arabia, China and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and China and Arab States. Invited by President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi paid a state visit to China in February. The head-of-state diplomacy has played a crucial part in facilitate dialogue and reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Through a lot of painstaking and patient efforts, China with its own wisdom and influence has helped Saudi Arabia and Iran to find the greatest common divisor for their cooperation and dialogue. As pointed out by Wang Yi, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, it is a victory for dialogue and victory for peace. As a good-faith and reliable mediator, China has earnestly fulfilled its duties as the host. In keeping with its responsibility as a major country and the wishes of the countries concerned, China will continue to play a constructive role in facilitating the proper settlement of hot-spot issues around the world.
Evolution of the situation in our world dominated by changes unseen in a century keeps accelerating, and the general trend of the East rising and the West declining becomes irreversible. China, as a facilitator for security and stability in the Middle East, a cooperator for development and prosperity and a promotor for solidarity and self-improvement, is bound to continue contributing its wisdom and strength to world peace. This time, mediated by China, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to reestablish diplomatic tie. Setting an example for solving other conflicts, this enables the world to see the positive significance and effect of China's Global Security Initiative.