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Syrian crisis highlights China's Middle East problem

The Syrian crisis highlights the tricky balancing act China faces in managing its energy relations in the Middle East

As the West once again gears up for possible military action in the Middle East, China finds itself in a familiar bind. Increasingly dependent on Middle Eastern oil to fuel its economic growth, the world's second largest crude importer is hit harder than most by the inevitable rise in oil prices that accompanies any talk of conflict in the region. Yet even as China becomes more deeply involved in the Middle East, and increasingly at the mercy of developments there, it has little sway over events. The Syrian government's alleged chemical attack on its own people has caused outrage, and the US, UK and French leaders have called for a military response to punish Bashar al-Assad. Turkey and a n

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