The recent decision of the UAE to stand with China in the dispute over Taiwan amid growing tension on China’s decision to claim Taiwan caused a stir. China’s decision could lead to a full-scale war not just between China and Taiwan but with the United States of America.
On Thursday the UAE’s ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation in a veiled message declared the country’s support for China in the dispute by stating that the country “affirmed its support for China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”. A statement that came after the United States secretary of state visited Taiwan in the heat of the growing tensions and imminent threat of an escalation of hostilities. A visit China has condemned in the strongest terms and responded to by carrying out military drills over Taiwanese air space.
While top USA diplomats and political analysts have downplayed the effects and implications of the wealthy Arab nation’s decision. The situation has generated much confusion and tension in the middle east, Asia and Europe. This comes as a surprise to the international community because the UAE has been tagged as a close ally of the United States. Over the last few decades, the Arab nation has been adopting more liberal policies when compared to other Islamic and middle east nations. A move that generated lots of American investments and contributed to the fast growth of the country’s economy.
Many have misinterpreted this cooperation between the United States of America and the UAE to imply a political alliance rather than a mutually beneficial economic cooperation. A close observation of the policies of the UAE would reveal that the country’s philosophy is business oriented and is non-aligned with either eastern or western political ideologies. The Arab nation is distinct from other Arab states who are influenced and focused on Arab solidarity, religion, and ideology.
The UAE has maintained ties with China since 1984 when both countries established diplomatic ties. The cooperation between the nations would span across matters relating to economy, politics, and culture. As China continues to make moves in the Persian Gulf, a region where the UAE is a key player, cooperation by both nations is mutually beneficial. In 2007 bilateral trade between both countries exceeded a staggering $19.4 billion with over 2000 Chinese firms actively operating in the UAE.
The Belt and Road initiative is the biggest business deal between China and the UAE in the last three years estimated at a whopping $3.4 billion. It would allow China to use the port of Jebel Ali to ship Chinese goods using the strategic position of the UAE as a land and sea trading hub.
A keen observer of the UAE’s stride toward economic and political dominance would notice the objectivity of the emirate in her international policies and projects geared toward the progress of the country by building solid economically advantageous partnerships with any state. This fact is proved true by the UAE’s partnership with Israel despite the latter being a common enemy to most Arab states.
operation between Israel and the UAE is criticized by Iran and turkey who believe that the emirate should join other Arab nations in hostilities against Israel. However, since the signing of the peace agreement between the UAE and Israel in 2010 both countries have had a mutually beneficial business relationship with over 250 UAE companies in Israel. The free trade agreement signed in April 2022 aids bilateral and unilateral trade between both countries including the exclusion of custom duties on 95% of goods.
The decisions of the UAE might not be popular among her Arab neighbors but it is a decision that has paid off over the last decades. Every government should hold the interest of its citizens as primary above any other consideration. Today the UAE is the economic capital of the middle east because of the strong resolve of the emirate to establish the UAE as a business state, equipped with a business mindset in decision making.
The economic, social, and political life of the country has thrived over the last two decades due to the decision to act to benefit the economy and peace of the state. The relative peace that the country has experienced due to its decision has enabled development to the extent of competing with any first-world state. Every aspect of the society in the UAE has experienced prosperity and growth with the best standards in healthcare, transport, technology, real estate, and others.
In a world threatened by war and violence on every continent. The UAE is motivated to take actions based only on what it regards as being right for its best interest. It does not succumb to the moral compass of the United States despite having friendly relations. It has refused to be weighed down by the Arab brotherhood by conducting business with Israel. Most recently the expressed support for China’s sovereignty, a country that rivals the United state for economic dominance in the world market. A calculated move for self-preservation and interest.