Pepe Escobar: China’s strategy in the Middle East – Make trade not war

China’s “Go West” strategy was brought into sharp focus at a forum in Shanghai last weekend. Billed as the Belt and Road Initiative: Towards Greater Cooperation between China and the Middle East, it highlighted key aspects of Beijing’s wider plan.

The New Silk Roads, or the Belt and Road Initiative, involve six key economic corridors, connecting Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. One, in particular, extends through the Middle East to North Africa. This is where the Belt and Road meets MENA or the Middle East and North Africa.

Of course, Beijing’s massive economic project goes way beyond merely exporting China’s excess production capacity. That is part of the plan, along with building selected industrial bases in MENA countries by using technical and production expertise from the world’s second-largest economy.

Again, this is will connect western China to the eastern Mediterranean. It will mean developing a corridor through projects such as the Red Med railway. There are also plans to expand ports, such as Oman’s Duqm, as well as substantial investment in Turkey.