Saudi Arabia and China signal strategic offers, Xi heralds ‘new period’ By Reuters

© Reuters. Chinese language President Xi Jinping arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 7, 2022. Saudi Press Company/Handout by way of REUTERS

By Aziz El Yaakoubi and Eduardo Baptista

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia and China showcased deepening ties with a sequence of strategic offers on Thursday throughout a go to by President Xi Jinping, together with one with tech large Huawei, whose rising foray into the Gulf area has raised U.S. safety considerations.

King Salman signed a “complete strategic partnership settlement” with Xi, who obtained a lavish welcome in a rustic forging new international partnerships past the West.

Xi’s automotive was escorted to the king’s palace by members of the Saudi Royal Guard driving Arabian horses and carrying Chinese language and Saudi flags.

The Chinese language chief held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto ruler of the oil large, who greeted him with a heat smile. The 2 stepped right into a pavilion as a army band performed the nations’ nationwide anthems. Xi heralded “a brand new period” in Arab ties.

The show stood in stark distinction to the low-key welcome prolonged in July to U.S. President Joe Biden, with whom ties have been strained by Saudi power coverage and the 2018 homicide of Jamal Khashoggi that had overshadowed the awkward go to.

America, warily watching China’s rising sway and with its ties to Riyadh at a nadir, stated on Wednesday Xi’s journey was an instance of Chinese language makes an attempt to exert affect all over the world and wouldn’t change U.S. coverage in direction of the Center East.

A memorandum with China’s Huawei Applied sciences, on cloud computing and constructing high-tech complexes in Saudi cities, was agreed regardless of U.S. considerations with Gulf allies over a attainable safety danger in utilizing the Chinese language agency’s know-how. Huawei has participated in constructing 5G networks in most Gulf states regardless of U.S. considerations.

Prince Mohammed, with whom Biden bumped fists as an alternative of shaking fingers in July, has made a comeback on the world stage following the Khashoggi killing, which forged a pall over Saudi-U.S. ties, and has been defiant within the face of U.S. ire over oil provides and strain from Washington to assist isolate Russia.

In additional burnishing of his worldwide credentials, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stated on Thursday that the prince and the UAE president collectively led mediation efforts that secured the discharge of U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner in a prisoner swap with Russia.

In an op-ed revealed in Saudi media, Xi stated he was on a “pioneering journey” to “open a brand new period of China’s relations with the Arab world, the Arab nations of the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia”.

China and Arab nations would “proceed to carry excessive the banner of non-interference in inside affairs, (and) firmly assist one another in safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity”, he wrote.

Xi, on account of meet with different Gulf oil producers and attend a wider gathering of Arab leaders on Friday, stated these states have been a “treasure trove of power for the world financial system … and are fertile floor for the event of high-tech industries”.

A number of regional rulers together with Egypt’s president, Kuwait’s crown prince and Sudan’s chief, arrived in Riyadh on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia and different Gulf states just like the United Arab Emirates have stated that they’d not select sides between international powers and have been diversifying companions to serve nationwide financial and safety pursuits.


China, the world’s greatest power client, is a significant commerce accomplice of Gulf states and bilateral ties have expanded because the area pushes financial diversification, elevating U.S. hackles about Chinese language involvement in delicate Gulf infrastructure.

The Saudi power minister on Wednesday stated Riyadh would keep a “trusted and dependable” power accomplice for Beijing and the 2 would increase cooperation in power provide chains by establishing a regional centre within the kingdom for Chinese language factories.

Chinese language and Saudi companies additionally signed 34 offers for funding in inexperienced power, data know-how, cloud providers, transport, building and different sectors, state information company SPA reported. It gave no figures, however had earlier stated the 2 nations would seal preliminary agreements value $30 billion.

Tang Tianbo, Center East specialist on the China Institutes of Up to date Worldwide Relations (CICIR) – a Chinese language government-affiliated suppose tank – stated the go to would lead to additional enlargement of power cooperation.

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