The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate. As the largest foreign investor in Iraq's oil fields, China will naturally be affected by the situation.
Influence in the short-term
The impact of the Iraq crisis on China's energy security is very limited, despite China's growing reliance on imported oil resources. China's overall imports of Iraqi crude oil represent less than 1% of China's total energy demands.
There are more than 10 000 Chinese citizen working for Chinese companies. They are generally in safe areas - southern and eastern Iraq, controlled by Shiites - where most Chinese investments are located. The Chinese government has announced that it attaches great importance to the security of Chinese citizens and companies, as well as the protection of their legitimate rights in Iraq. It has demanded that the Chinese embassy in Iraq and the Iraqi side both take effective measures to protect them. It has transferred its Chinese staff from relatively risky areas to safer areas.
The continuation of the volatile situation in Iraq and other areas in the Middle East will affect the creation of the economic belt on the Silk Road of China in the long term. The strategic alliance between China and Russia has facilitated the establishment of an economic belt on the new Silk Road. On this basis, the preservation of peace in the Middle East will help China to open new markets and enhance cooperation with Europe across the Middle East. It will also help China to break the U.S. 'siege' on Asia. However, continuing long-term chaos in Iraq will increase the power of extremist forces. If the Iraqi crisis continues to spread into surrounding areas, the establishment of the economic belt on the Silk Road will face significant challenges. Thus, the impact of the current situation in Iraq on China will not be immediate, but in the future.
Based on this fact, China must refrain from direct interference in the current problems in Iraq; otherwise it will be dragged down into the swamp. However China cannot simply watch the growth of extremist groups in Iraq and let the current chaos in Iraq expand to Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and even to China This will have a very negative impact on China's development in long term. The Chinese government will support the efforts of the Iraqi government to achieve stability and territorial integrity. China will provide financial support and equipment to the Iraqi government through special channels, while at the same time encouraging Iran, Russia and other countries to increase their support to Iraq, in order to help restore stability and promote political reconstruction and national reconciliation in Iraq.
The author Lei Xiyin is the researcher in Chahar Society.
This article is edited and translated from 伊拉克乱局，中国不介入但要有作为, Source: Global Times