China Offers $20 Billion Loan Package To Arab League Nations
Chinese President Xi Jinping is attempting to purchase more influence in the Middle East, this time with a $20 billion dollar economic development loan package aimed at modernization and infrastructure projects in several Arab League states.
According to AFP, President Xi told diplomats from 21 Middle Eastern countries on Tuesday that the additional funding would result in more “employment opportunities” as well as providing a “positive social impact in Arab States that have reconstruction needs.” China also stated that the projects would address several of the region’s security threats.
A few of the states that would receive some of the loan money include Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen.
China has increased its presence in the Middle East in the last few years as part of Xi’s “Belt and Road foreign policy plan.” According to a report from Reuters, China’s motivation to become a major player in the Middle East is to secure transportation and trade routes.
“Chinese and Arab peoples, though far apart in distance, are as close as family,” Xi said during the meeting, according to AFP.
This new loan package is just the latest in a series of moves Beijing has made to increase its presence in the region. In 2017 China opened the Chinese PLA Support Base in Djibouti, the first Chinese military base to be constructed overseas. The base provides a port for Chinese warships and serves as a logistics hub for Chinese troops operating in the area. Both Japan and the United States also have bases in Djibouti, and earlier this year, Chinese personnel allegedly targeted U.S. military pilots with high-powered lasers.