KSA Going East .. Saudi Arabia, China to Boost Cooperation against Terrorism

In a meeting held in Riyadh yesterday, King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz agreed with the Special Envoy of the Chinese President Meng Jianzhu, who is currently on a visit to the Kingdom, to step up cooperation in a number of issues of common interest, especially secutity and fighting terrorism.

According to the Saudi official News Agency, this meeting was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Also, during a special meeting between the Chinese delegation and the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, the two sides have signed a five-year action plan for cooperation in the field of security training between Saudi Arabia and China, reported The Saudi Gazette.

This official Chinese visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, follow the signing of 17 preliminary agreements between Saudi Arabia and China in August especially in the fields of energy and housing, during the visit of the deputy crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman to China before the G20 summit.

Iran pushed The kingdom to go East

Following the new Saudi political and economic views, there is an official orientation to boost bilateral ties with China and the East Asian countries in general.

Before the Participation of the Saudi delegation which was led by the Deputy Crown Price, Mohammed Bin Salman went to Pakistan and Japan to improve promote bilateral cooperation in all fields, including the military and nuclear fileds.

This tendency came in parallel with the existence of tension in Saudi-Americain relations that ended with the adoption of ”JASTA” law, while there is a progress in the American-Iranian relations on several fronts.

As it is known, the US alliance rests mostly on two key factors: overlapping economic and national security interests, but now despite these long-standing ties, Saudi Arabia harms American national interests as much as it helps them, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, Riyadh is concerned the deal that lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran dismantling its nuclear infrastructure will empower Iran to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy in the region. In contrast, Barack Obama described the nuclear agreement with Iran as “a good deal” that achieves one of America’s most critical security objectives.

Therefore, the Saudis and the United States diverge over American policy toward Iran, still exist because Saudi Arabia sees itself locked in a sectarian and geopolitical struggle with Iran for Middle East supremacy, and always fears abandonment by Washington, and worries the nuclear deal is only the first step in a process that could lead to its replacement by Iran as the United States’ primary Persian Gulf ally

In 2015, The National Interest also asked if “Iran will become America’s New Saudi Arabia”, saying that the lifting of sanctions will help to put more money in the pockets of the 75 percent of Iranians , further toward opening Iran to the West and to spend more money on supporting Iraqi Shia militias . A progress which will be in favor of Iran and Against the Saudi Arabia.

This critical situation, pushed the Kingdom to search for Potential new allies such as: China.

China’s interests in Middle East

Although, Angola became the largest supplier of oil to China in September with 4,190 tonnes of crude more than Saudi Arabia and Russia, wich China’s main suppliers, according to figures from Chinese customs, the tendency of Saudi Arabia toward China is increasing day by day.

According to media reports, the tendency of boosting ties with china is not only from the Saudi sides, later in October, special forces from China and Saudi Arabia have held their first joint anti-terrorism drills, as a part of China’s latest effort to expand security ties with countries in the Middle East and its Muslim neighbors, outlined Reuters.

Also, China had denounced the adaptation of “JUSTA” law, that allows relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

Business insider cited China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman statement, in which he said “ China believes international anti-terrorism cooperation should respect international law and principles of international relations, including fundamental principles of nations’sovereign equality.”

So, why china supports Saudi Arabia and keen to strengthen bilateral ties?

In an article titled “China and Saudi Arabia: A New Alliance?”, The Diplomat magazine, said that It is not surprising that the two countries are interested in deepening their cooperation with each other , because Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter and China is the world’s largest oil importer.

Also, the magazine said that China is seeking to upgrade its status in the Middle East makes use of the recent strains in Saudi-U.S. relations, to to integrate the region into its One Belt, One Road initiative, which was announced in 2013 and which would connect China with Eurasia.

Foreign Policy magazine outlined in an article titled “China’s New Grand Strategy for the Middle East” that after decades China’s desire to gain the Middle East as a part of its effort to connect the landmass and surrounding waterways stretching from China to the heart of Europe in a network of trade and transportation corridors .