World Cup pandas boost China-Qatar relations


November 21, 2022

BEIJING – Qatar has caught the world’s attention as it will host the FIFA World Cup starting on Sunday. On the other hand, China was in the global spotlight earlier this year for successfully hosting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. And unsurprisingly, China used the panda as its mascot for the Winter Games, as it has done for almost every major sporting event, including the 2008 Summer Olympics, which it has hosted.

There’s a reason for that: giant pandas are only found in the wild in China. In fact, the panda has become the symbol of China’s friendly diplomacy and promotes the country’s relations with the rest of the international community.
From the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to the present day, the panda has traveled from the forests to the rest of the world as China’s friendly envoy, contributing to the development of friendly relations between China and other countries.

Qatar’s warm welcome to two pandas, named “Suhail” after one of the brightest visible stars in the Gulf region and “Thuraya” which is the Arabic name for one of the brightest star clusters most famous and brightest, reflects the extent of growing Sino- Qatari relationship.

It seems that recent changes in the regional and international landscapes (the “Arab Spring” which began in 2011, the Gulf crisis in 2017, the Sino-American tensions and the continuation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict) have had a direct impact on the rapprochement between the two countries. countries towards strengthening their strategic partnership and widening their circle of cooperation.

An ambitious country like Qatar, whose regional role has grown in recent years, has found in China – a global power with global interests and global influence – a suitable partner who can help it expand its political reach and economic beyond its traditional sphere in the Gulf and Middle East region. Thus, Qatar can demonstrate its regional and international position and expand its diplomacy in Asia, which is awash in conflict and tension.

Perhaps the success of Qatar’s foreign policy in mediating between the Taliban regime and the United States a few months ago, and the fact that Qatar has become a dialogue partner within the of Shanghai confirm this trend. This could help Qatar benefit from the efforts of SCO members, led by China, to fight against the three evils (terrorism, separatism and extremism) and successfully host the FIFA World Cup.

Moreover, Qatar realizes the importance of China as one of the important markets for Qatari gas. Therefore, expanding its gas market in Asia would be one of the most important steps towards expanding cooperation with China in the next stage, especially because Western sanctions against Russia could affect the energy supply of many countries.

Chinese foreign policy, indeed, is no different from Qatari foreign policy. China wants to ensure smooth energy supply from the Middle East, many Chinese investment companies are active in Qatar, and China is trying to implement various promising economic projects in the Middle East. And Qatar is one of the emerging economic powers that could be a reliable partner in this regard.

In this context, we should not forget that Qatar welcomes China’s political and economic role in the Middle East. It shares China’s view on many development initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative and helps build a community with a shared future.

Despite their historical, cultural, political and economic differences, Qatar and China can work together to maintain world peace and promote common development, as well as strengthen bilateral relations, especially given their economic, trade and energy interdependence. , which brought the two parties closer together in the first place.

There are undoubtedly many opportunities for cooperation that can strengthen bilateral strategic relations, the most important being the expansion of trade relations, especially in the field of energy and technology, and the increase in the volume of mutual investments.

In addition, strengthening political coordination and deepening security cooperation to combat international terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime could also elevate Qatar-China relations to higher levels of security. effective interdependence in various fields.

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