A new Middle East: with China, without the US and with a new Saudi Arabia

By diversifying foreign relations, Saudi Arabia is moving away from the United States and turning towards China and Russia. Saudi Arabia has decided on investment agreements with China worth around USD 50 billion, plus agreements concerning the sale of oil and the purchase of Chinese 5G technology. The Saudis also strengthen their relations with Russia, Brazil, India, China, South Africa (BRICS countries) and Venezuela.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and China are also increasingly important thanks to the Saudi Vision 2030 economic diversification program and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The pillar of Vision 2030 is tourism, which is to become the second national industry after oil and energy, and millions of Chinese tourists will help.

China strives to gain a new political role in the region, piloting, among others, agreements between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In addition, China announced establishing a “strategic partnership” with the Palestinian Authority. It is another step in the Chinese campaign to gain political and economic influence in the Middle East as part of the rivalry with the USA. China is seeking energy resources and markets for its exports and is promoting its version of authoritarian rule as a challenge to the democratic, Western-led world order. It also seeks to strengthen regional diplomacy through partnerships to enable its corporations to negotiate infrastructure deals under the Belt and Road Initiative.

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