Occupying a crucial geographic location, the Middle East has shouldered the responsibility of connecting the East and the West since ancient times. It witnessed the birth of the world’s most long-standing civilization, the first city and the oldest legal code on the planet.
Given the accessibility to surrounding areas, local people started to expand their presence. As a result, Arabs and Persians built a prototype global trade system and facilitated cultural exchanges.
Thanks to such trans-continental communication, the Middle East also embraced prosperity and progress.
The ancient Silk Road finally came into being after arduous efforts of the ancients thanks to an “invisible hand” of free trade, which still shapes the modern economy. The hand virtually fuels the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, an initiative put forward by China on the basis of the ancient route.
Nowadays, Middle East merchants are no strangers to China’s most developed business cities and Chinese businessmen have a fair share in Middle East markets.
Since the discovery of oil in the Middle East, the world “intersection” has been turned into a “source of conflicts.” World powers interfered Middle East affairs either with their condescending attitudes or so-called strategies.
While nonstop turbulence and disputes blocked the region’s development, people living there have a strong desire for peace and stability.
As the only major country that maintains friendship with all Mideast states, China respects the sovereignty, territorial integrity and history of the countries and values the aspiration of their people, which is the key to the Sino-Mideast friendship.
China is also among the top three trade partners of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, which implies that it is necessary for China and the Middle East to seek win-win cooperation by realizing the Road and Belt initiative and docking development strategies.
Undoubtedly, tremendous changes will take place along the ancient land once China’s initiative is realized.
If the ancient Silk Road can be described as the first attempt of the human race to communicate beyond culture and institutions, in the new era, China, the Middle East and other nations in the world should join efforts to revitalize the route.