Chinese President Xi Jinping is back in Beijing after a tour in which he courted some key players in the Middle East.

During a visit to King Salman in Riyadh, he agreed to closer strategic cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia.

In Cairo, Xi and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a document outlining their countries' relationship for the next five years.

There, Xi said he supported the idea of a fully independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as the new country’s capital.

His last stop was Tehran - making him the first head of state to visit Iran since international sanctions were lifted.

But how important is the Middle East to Beijing? And can China remain neutral in the region's many conflicts?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan

Guests:

Einar Tangen, political affairs analyst.

Abdullah Baabood, director of the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University.

Mohammad Marandi, professor at the University of Tehran.