By: Philip Lenczycki, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Saudi Arabian government announced its intention to “collaborate” with the People’s Republic of China and inked a multi-billion dollar deal during the first day of the Arab-China Business Conference on Sunday, according to multiple reports.
Saudi Arabia wishes to avoid a “zero-sum game” and does not want to “compete” with its largest trading partner, China, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said during the 10th Arab-China Business Conference in Riyadh, according to CNBC. Underscoring the nations’ deepening ties, Chinese electric car manufacturer Human Horizons sealed a $5.6 billion deal with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment on the same day, making up approximately half of the over $10 billion in investments inked during the conference thus far, Reuters reported.
“We came to recognize the reality of today that China is taking, had taken a lead, will continue to take that lead. We don’t have to compete with China, we have to collaborate with China,” Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told CNBC.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia exported 87.49 million tonnes of crude oil to China, making it the communist nation’s largest supplier of crude oil for the year, according to Reuters.
On top of sharing deep energy ties, Saudi Arabia also recently joined China’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a “dialogue partner” in March 2023, CNBC reported. SCO is an intergovernmental organization “mainly focused on regional security issues,” including “counterterrorism and prevention of violent extremism,” according to the UN.
“We are Saudi Arabia, we don’t have to be engaged in what I call a zero-sum game. We believe that there are so many global opportunities,” bin Salman told CNBC on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s three-day visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran, Israel, energy and a host of other issues concluded last Thursday, according to The New York Times.
“We’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States and China,” Blinken said Thursday, according to The Times. “The United States remains the number one partner of choice for, I think, most countries in the region.”
Relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have become increasingly tense following the desert kingdom’s recent announcement to cut oil production at a time when the U.S. anticipated an increase and is struggling with high energy prices, according to The Times.
The White House and Saudi Arabian Embassy did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.