China Has a Chance to Be a Global Leader on Iran

Xi Jinping has a favorite phrase: “The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century.” The Chinese leader has repeated it in international summits, work party conferences, and even during a conversation with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. It is a revealing insight into his global view, and the Iran-Israel conflict fits right into that.

Beijing has an opportunity to step up and play the role of diplomatic problem solver in this increasingly volatile situation. This would allow the world’s second-largest economy to build goodwill not just with the US, with which it has a fractious relationship, but also cement its reputation as a leader in the Global South, one of Xi’s key ambitions. That the president has chosen not to proactively do this is a telling sign of his ambivalence about intervening in a time of crisis.

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