“Some Chinese experts talk of America leaving a vacuum in the Middle East. Danny Russel, America’s assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in 2013-17, agrees that China senses a demand for a Chinese presence in the Middle East, amid talk of American unreliability. Chinese companies have been told to go out and sell advanced technologies that will carry their country’s values and technical standards around the world, notably via the Belt and Road Initiative. But ambitious deals come with political risks. ‘The larger your footprint, the more valuable your investments, the more vulnerable you are,’ suggests Mr Russel, who is now at the Asia Society Policy Institute, a research outfit…”

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