Thursday, September 1, 2016

Geo-strategic significance of Saudi Arabia’s growing ties with China


Dr. Theodore Karasik

SAUDI Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the People’s Republic of China illustrates a new heightening of Beijing’s importance to Riyadh’s Vision 2030. Although politics, such as China’s recent outreach to Syria, may raise eyebrows, there is an irreversible strategic plan between the two giants that is important to flesh out at this juncture.
First is the energy security link between the Kingdom and China. Both countries exhibit a multi-tiered foreign policy designed to acquire and secure long-term energy supplies by diversifying their sources of oil and gas, engaging in “energy diplomacy,” and establishing energy reserves.
Plans to cooperate with China in storing crude oil is the beginning of a new level of strategic partnership that is likely to feed East Asia. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Aramco is in talks with China National Petroleum Corporation and Sinopec for investment opportunities in refining, marketing and petrochemicals. Saudi Arabia reportedly wants China to invest in Aramco’s public offering.