Until the 1960s, China’s relationship with Qatar was rather limited because the latter did not have sovereignty at the time. Technically, the state was controlled by the United Kingdom, and its behavior at the time was perceived as pro-capitalist (Smith 1). However, after granting its independence in 1971, Qatar started to develop strategic relationships with both Eastern and Western states in order to secure its welfare.
Currently, Qatar has a strong diplomatic and strategic partnership with China. After one of the most recent diplomatic visits, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi claimed that “the two sides vowed to boost the bilateral ties through expanding strategic cooperation” (Xinhua para. 1). Today’s strategic cooperation includes various aspects such as diplomacy, trade, military support, and cultural relations. For example, as far as the economic relationship is concerned, Qatar and China have been exporting each other goods since the 1970s, with Qatar’s liquified natural gas imports being arguably the most important (Chaziza 78). Moreover, for more than 20 years, the two states have worked under a double taxation avoidance agreement.
While China sees Qatar as a strong and reliable strategic partner, the latter considers several options for the political and economic alliance. Over the past years, the cooperation between Qatar and US has strengthened because of the American military support (Samaan para. 2). Over the past years, instead of shifting completely toward Chinese political support, Qatar has succeeded in improving its relationship with the US and France in terms of military supply. Hence, it would be beneficial for Qatar to continue working in multiple directions on the diplomatic front, as its alliance is valuable to both Eastern and Western markets.
Chaziza, Mordechai. “China–Qatar Strategic Partnership and the Realization of One Belt, One Road Initiative.” China Report, vol. 56, no. 1, 2020, pp. 78-102.
Samaan, Jean-Loup. “Qatar and the US-China Rivalry: The Dilemmas of a Gulf Monarchy.” French Institute of International Relations, 2021.
Smith, Simon C. “Imperialism after empire? Britain and Qatar in the aftermath of the withdrawal from East of Suez.” Middle Eastern Studies, 2022, pp. 1-16.
Xinhua. “China, Qatar Vow to Boost Ties Through Expanding Strategic Cooperation.” Xinhua.net, 2021.