ISLAMABAD (Realist English). The participation of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in the work of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Pakistan serves as a clear signal that many countries of the Muslim world are abandoning their traditional alliances with the United States, analysts said in an interview with the publication Middle East Eye.
“Geopolitically and economically, the Muslim bloc is fast moving away from the West,” – said Umer Karim, a visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London. More recently the pressure from the broader West to support Ukraine hasn’t gone down well. But there is real history between many of the Muslim countries and the West, and much of its all is too recent to forget”.
The OIC Foreign Ministers’ Conference in Islamabad ended with a familiar resolution condemning the oppression of Muslims in Palestine and Indian-ruled Kashmir, as well as growing Islamophobia in Western countries. But the statement did not mention the persecuted Uighur minority in China, which drew condemnation from Uighur activists.
According to MEE columnist Sal Ahmed, the Chinese Foreign Minister was invited by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who sought to use the OIC conference to strengthen his position and enlist the support of a powerful neighbor ahead of the consideration of a vote of no confidence in the government in the Pakistani parliament next week.
Tallha Abdulrazaq, an academic at the British University of Exeter, believes that the OIC’s inclination towards China should be considered as a pragmatic approach.
“The reason behind the shift is to face up to new geopolitical realities. OIC member states are largely (with notable exceptions) still within the West’s orbit, but they aren’t blind. They can see that China is a rising power that will eventually be able to challenge western hegemony across not only economic, but also political and possibly military domains.”
According to Abdulrazaq, Washington is paying the price for interventions in the region:
“Generally, the US doesn’t enjoy a good reputation in the Middle East and that is largely due to its legacy of wars and occupation, especially the wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003 and the disastrous aftermath of the occupation there.”
China is well-aware of the growing anti-Western sentiment in the Muslim world. The Chinese Foreign Minister was carefully choosing his words in Islamabad, referring in his speech to a common history, mutual political views and prospects for economic partnership with the Muslim world.