Tunisia: Relations Warm with China as Tensions Grow with West

by | Oct 13, 2023 | Diplomacy, Political, Security, Tunisia


This week, the Chinese embassy in Tunisia announced that Chinese citizens can now visit Tunisia without a visa, as relations between the two countries continue to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The change in visa policy for Chinese citizens comes after China announced the lifting of a travel ban on its own citizens to a number of countries, including Tunisia. Chinese tourists will still be required to provide proof of hotel reservations and airline tickets when entering Tunisia. 

Meanwhile, photos circulated on social media this week indicating that Chinese-made military vehicles were spotted in Tunisia. Various commentators speculated that the vehicles are being tested in advance of future acquisitions. 

Reports also circulated that Tunisia and China have agreed to conduct joint naval exercises in late 2024. 



Tunisia’s relationships with traditional Western partners have been strained by the issue of irregular migration and the surge in violence in Israel-Palestine, potentially creating space for China to expand its strategic influence in Tunisia and throughout the region. 

China already maintains a strong economic foothold in Algeria where it plays a major role in infrastructure projects. Further expansion and opportunity in Tunisia could be attractive as China seeks out additional investment opportunities and strategic entry points to the African continent. 

With Tunisia currently at odds with the US and key European partners over its political trajectory, economic intransigence, and struggles with effectively managing the irregular migration crisis, China could be a more attractive partner. Historically, China has been less critical of human rights and political issues in partner countries than Western states. 


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