CHINA AND SAUDI ARABIA TIES
12th December, 2022 International Relations
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Context: During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the kingdom, Saudi Arabia and China signed a series of bilateral agreements, symbolic of deepening ties between the two countries.
- Today, Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter while China is the world’s biggest energy consumer.
Current relationship between Saudi Arabia and China
- Currently, China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $87.3 billion in 2021. Chinese exports to Saudi Arabia reached $30.3 billion, while China’s imports from the kingdom totalled $57 billion.
- Saudi Arabia is China’s top oil supplier. It makes up 18% of Beijing’s total crude oil purchases
- In early 2022, Aramco decided to build a $10 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in northeast China, marking its single largest investment in the world’s second largest economy. The
- ACWA Power, partly owned by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, said in September that it had agreed with Silk Road Fund to jointly invest in a 1.5 gigawatt (GW) gas-fuelled power plant in Uzbekistan for $1 billion as part of Beijing’s One Belt One Road initiative.
- Saudi Advanced Communications and Electronics Systems Co (ACES) signed a deal with China Electronics Technology Group to manufacture unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) payload systems in the kingdom
34 investment agreements between Saudi and Chinese firms
- Saudi and Chinese firms signed 34 investment agreements in green energy, information technology, cloud services, transport, logistics, medical industries, housing and construction.
- These agreements will strengthen economic ties between the two nations as well as bring Saudi Arabia into the fold of China’s Belt and Road Initiatives.
A statement of solidarity between China and Saudi Arabia
- In a joint statement, the two countries reiterated that they will continue to firmly support each other’s core interests, support each other in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and jointly defend the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and other basic norms governing international law and international relations.
- The Saudi side also threw its weight behind the one-China policy when it came to China’s recent tensions with Taiwan.
- Further, the two countries emphasised on the importance of their economic ties, and resolved to accelerate the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
- In an indirect swipe at the United States, the two sides also condemned “”double standards” on counter-terrorism.”
- China and Saudi Arabia’s growing closeness comes at a time when relations between China and the US are as hostile as ever and ties between the Saudis and the Americans have grown sour following the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
- Chinese-Saudi relations are strengthened in these tensions, with the Saudi’s seeking a reliable alternative to the US and China wanting to rival the Americans in their diplomatic and economic strength.
- The United States’ position as a global hegemon will not change overnight but as China and Saudi Arabia’s growing relations exhibit, the winds of change seem to be blowing hard.