China’s no-commitment partnership is a win-win deal for Saudi Arabia — RT World News
Beijing manages to maintain strategic partnerships with other countries despite their ongoing sectarian conflicts
Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off his “historic” visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, as the Asian economic powerhouse seeks new inroads in the Middle East region amid growing unrest between Riyadh and its traditional allies in Washington.
Despite the Middle Eastern country having long been a theocratic monarchy, new criticism has emerged in the West over Riyadh’s uneven human rights record. China, however, moves forward without concomitant criticisms that are – while mostly valid – most often laced with bold hypocrisy, given the West’s propensity for unilateral wars of aggression and trampling on the civil liberties of its national population.
In fact, China’s policy of strict non-interference in other countries’ affairs has materialized in the Middle East with remarkable success. While Washington has stoked sectarian rifts between Sunni and Shia Muslims by dragging the Gulf states and Iran into proxy disputes, Beijing has pursued fruitful economic cooperation with both sides without protests on either side. China in fact signed a historic 25-year agreement with Saudi Arabia’s regional adversary Iran earlier this year that will include partnerships in many areas, including trade, economy and transport.
Earlier this year, China also introduced a five-point security initiative to ensure security and stability in the Middle East. The points of this initiative advocate mutual respect; uphold fairness and justice; achieving nuclear non-proliferation; jointly promote collective security; and accelerating development cooperation, as stated by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This has been warmly welcomed by countries in the region and is a model of how China wishes to foster security cooperation without launching unilateral wars under false pretenses, as the United States did in Iraq. .
But Xi’s visit was mainly focused on economic cooperation. Saudi Arabia has drawn the ire of Washington in recent months after it voted to cut oil production in October in OPEC+ format despite calls from US President Joe Biden to increase production to lower oil prices. fuel prices, presumably to help his party’s chances in last month’s midterm elections. Since then, Riyadh has shown its lack of desire to be singled out by the West and is diversifying its relations by looking to the East.
In the steps of China. As a signatory to the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and a key hub for connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to benefit development cooperation with China, which has rushed to invest in tangible assets. and stimulate win-win cooperation with countries in the South seeking economic development.
At the same time, the conditions are already ripe for the two sides to strengthen their cooperation, since Riyadh is China’s largest trading partner among Arab countries and China is Saudi’s largest trading center. Saudi Arabia since 2013. In particular, China is a massive importer. of raw materials from around the world, which it uses to fuel its vast manufacturing base – and Saudi oil is no exception. That being said, the two are also closely aligned in their green development initiatives, which for the Saudi side are detailed in the Kingdom’s “Vision 2030”.
According to media reports, deals worth $29 billion are expected to be signed by the two sides during Xi’s visit. These include over 20 initiatives and a strategic partnership agreement that will align the aforementioned Vision 2030 with the BRI. The two countries, after the outcome of this visit, will thus more firmly align their long-term strategic prospects to complement each other and lead to more win-win cooperation.
As Washington sees relations with the Kingdom sour in recent days as Saudi Arabia has been a decades-long US ally, China sees a massive boost to its diplomatic capital in the Middle East. It is precisely because Beijing does not make political demands of its allies that directly contradict their core interests, as the United States has tried to do by dragging Riyadh into its proxy conflict against Russia in Ukraine through unilateral sanctions and other means.
That is to say, China’s strict policy of non-interference is its greatest lever to drive the United States out of the Middle East. The countries of the region know only too well the destruction that follows Washington’s agenda; They have seen their sister countries mutilated and destroyed by American foreign policy and many have had to take in the refugees produced by these conflicts. But Beijing offers a different type of partnership, namely one that does not depend on one-sided political relations or sectarian hatred – but on simple self-interest.
The biggest hallmark of China’s success in the Middle East relative to Washington is the fact that it can maintain strategic partnerships with countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran that have been plagued by sectarian strife for decades. decades. This is something the West has not only never been able to achieve, but has only capitalized on to meet its own political goals in the region through divide-and-better tactics. to reign.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.