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The Meaning Carried by A Range of Crucial Diplomatic Events Happened in March
 Source:Centre for Strategic Thinking  Views:383 Updated:2023-04-01

Out of a series of important diplomatic events happened in March on the international stage, these three including the restoration of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Chinese leader’s visit to Russia, and the official establishment of China-Honduras diplomatic relations have drawn some special attention of the international observers.

Saudi Arabia-Iran Reconciliation

After having suspended their diplomatic relationship for seven years, Iran and Saudi Arabia finally reached a reconciliation on 10 March. The restoration of Iran-Saudi Arabia formal relations is an important gain for both countries, the Middle East region, and beyond. Though differences might still emerge in certain occasions in the long future, at least at the current stage, we have witnessed that Iran and Saudi Arabia have jointly managed to reach a crucial point, at which, the two countries agreed to cooperate on a number of issues, which have long been gravely concerned by the two countries as well as by other countries in the region. In the senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi’s word, this is a “victory for dialogue”.1

Given that China had played a very significant mediating role in bringing together the two parties to achieve this breakthrough, some experts have understood this more from a geo-strategic perspective, and viewed that this can be a significant diplomatic achievement for China amid the increasing competition between China and the U.S. on a number of issues.2 In the meantime, the normalization of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran also manifested the two countries’ intention to make strategic adjustment against the context of the changing regional and international environment.

Outcomes of Chinese Leader’s Visit to Russia

In relation to Chinese leadership’s visit to Russia, amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. politicians have paid special attention to what more likely the China-Russia bilateral ties can be further developed in the coming steps. The U.S. appears to be more concerned about the possible military and security cooperation between Russia and China such as the issue of whether China would consider delivering weapons to Russia. Recently, the U.S. has for a number of times warned China not to do so.

It was the first foreign trip of Chinese president after being re-elected. Following a range of meetings and events arranged between the two countries, China and Russia reached a number of agreements in the areas in relation to trade, energy, agriculture, information technology, and others etc. The two countries also expressed their commitment to jointly promote a more democratic multipolar world.3

The strengthening of China-Russia cooperation in various terms meets the interests of both countries; and from the strategic perspective, stable development of China-Russia relations is conductive to regional and international strategic stability.

For the Russian side, alongside the Ukraine crisis, Russia has suffered enormous pressure imposed by the U.S. and its allies from a variety of dimensions. As a counteractive strategy, over the past months, Russia has attempted to further expand its reach to other countries and regions such as seeking to deepen cooperation with countries like India and China in the energy field. There has been a dramatic increase in the two countries’ oil imports from Russia. India’s oil imports from Russia surged 22 times in 2022.4 In March this year, India turned into the number one buyer of Russia’s benchmark Urals grade crude oil, constituting more than 50% of all Russia’s seaborne Urals exports.5 Currently, Russia is India’s number one oil supplier.6

After all, from the Russian perspective, enhancing cooperation with China in a wide variety of spheres could have been taken as a very important step to pay the way for Russia’s further deepened cooperation with both China and other number of countries based in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and so on.

Formation of China-Honduras Diplomatic Relations

As for the establishment of China-Honduras diplomatic ties, it once again reflected that the One China principle is a common sense widely recognized by the international community. During the campaign process, the Honduran president, as a presidential candidate by then, had already made a pledge to establish diplomatic ties with China. Therefore, the decision made by the Honduran government today from a certain sense also reflected the Honduran people’s will.

After all, the management of the above series of diplomatic events once again proved that dialogue and consultation should be the best means to help resolve conflicts, address disputes and differences, and promote cooperation among countries.

The reconciliation agreement reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran by resorting to dialogue and consultation has just set a good example for resolving the Ukraine crisis.

The Role of Dialogue and Consultation in Helping Handle the Ukraine Crisis

The Ukraine crisis is still ongoing, and has been lasting for more than a year already. Various parties including senior political experts, state leaders, and influential individuals from the non-political sectors etc. have proposed solutions to help settle down the ongoing crisis. Yet, it is still in a stalemate due to a variety of complex interests involved in the Ukraine issue. More recently, China has released its position on the settlement of the Ukraine crisis. Besides that, the Brazilian president has also proposed to set up a special group to help handle the Ukraine issue.

Bringing the two direct conflicting parties - Russia and Ukraine - to the negotiation table and in the meantime getting other concerned parties involved in the discussions to cooperate on this matter appear to be a challenging issue. Yet, it is still crucial to note that before and after all the concerned parties agree to negotiate, there is a need for them to take the following critical concerns into account.

Both Russia and Ukraine would take security as the most significant matter as far as the Russia-Ukraine conflict keeps going. To reach a ceasefire agreement and further to finally get the Ukraine issue settled, there is a need for all the parties involved to take the security concerns of both Russia and Ukraine into consideration in any future arrangement.

The referendums held in the four regions consisting of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia in late September 2022 and the overwhelming support of the people living in these areas to re-join Russia have made the Ukraine issue more complicated to deal with. It is not sure whether and to what level, the conflicting parties would agree to make concessions in order to bring the war to an end. Regardless of the status of the four regions in any possible future arrangement to be agreed by all the negotiation parties, the interest, safety, and security of the people there should be protected, otherwise, peace in the four regions and beyond cannot be sustained in the future.

Regarding Ukraine’s position between Russia and NATO, at the beginning of the conflict last year, the Ukrainian side already expressed its willingness to stay neutral between Russia and NATO. As far as Ukraine can be granted with security guarantee by a group of major powers in accordance with the future agreement to be reached by the parties involved, being neutral would still serve the interest of Ukraine and of the wide European region well.


1. See Reuters, “Saudi, Iran restoration of ties a 'victory for dialogue'-China’s Wang Yi”, 11 March 2023,

2. For more comments made by several experts related to the Saudi Arabia-Iran reconciliation, please see Belfer Centre, “significance of the Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement brokered by China”, 14 March 2023,

3. For more details regarding the outcomes of Chinese president’s visit to Russia, please see

Russia Today, “multiple agreements crown historic Putin-Xi meeting”, 21 March 2023,

4., “Russia says it has rerouted all oil exports, India the biggest buyer”, 28 March 2023,

5. Ibid.

6. Charles Kennedy, “Russian oil giant signs new deal To boost crude supply To India”, 29 March 2023,


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