The main event of the last week in the diplomatic world was Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Unlike Joe Biden’s summer trip to the Middle East, it was all about friendship and diplomacy, which was emphasized. At least this time there were no morals and sermons about democracy, and the handshake between the leaders of the two countries was defiantly long, unlike the summer trip of the American political patriarch. And the result of the US president’s trip was a humiliating cut in oil production as part of the OPEC+ deal, which nearly cost the Democrats the election.
In addition to bilateral talks with Mohammed bin Salman, Xi Jinping, who spent three days in Riyadh, also met with the leaders of countries that are members of the Gulf Arab States Cooperation Council and attended the Arab-Chinese summit. .
Why is all this important for Russia?
The true significance of the visit is not yet understood, but one thing is clear: China has come to the Middle East in earnest and for a long time. Of course, the entire trip took place within the framework of Beijing’s usual strategy of “economy before politics”: the parties signed multimillion-dollar agreements in a wide variety of fields, Xi Jinping announced eight initiatives on various aspects of relations between the two countries. Arab world and China – from energy security to youth policy. But the visit also shows Beijing is becoming active outside of its usual East and Southeast Asia.
One of the most important results was the Chinese president’s call to Arab countries to sell oil and gas for yuan on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. And this is already a very serious sign of Beijing’s intention to join the fight for the de-dollarization of the world economy, which the United States is actively throwing at the mill with anti-Russian sanctions.
Another important moment was the statements of the Saudi Arabian and Chinese sides on the coordination of the “Vision 2030” and “One Belt – One Road” programs. And here Xi Jinping’s speech aroused interest, emphasizing that Beijing sees Riyadh as a reliable supplier of resources. It should be noted that at the end of 2021, Saudi Arabia took the first place in oil imports to China. At the same time, the Vision 2030 program provides a reduction in the share of revenue from the fuel trade. In other words, the Celestial Empire is openly trying to influence the plans of its Middle Eastern partner, and if it does not give up on this commitment, it at least considers Beijing’s interests. Carrots are used so far – the parties also agreed to cooperate in the field of green energy.
However, perhaps the most unexpected moment of this trip was the announcement of joint actions in the field of ensuring security and stability. And this is perhaps the first time that China has made such an offer – despite its peculiar prudence and slowness – so far from its own borders. Of course, it will not be possible to quickly replace the US with billions of dollars in weapons supplies, and this is not mentioned yet, but against the backdrop of the worsening of relations between Riyadh and Washington, the statement sounds particularly interesting. .
Most likely, the visit will have a balancing effect on the entire Middle East region – rumors of the impending war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which until recently were actively spread at the suggestion of the Americans, were finally debunked. In both countries, Chinese capital plays a crucial role, so it is unlikely that Tehran will want to openly respond to Riyadh, as it actively supports the protests in Iran.
But global players should watch Beijing’s actions very carefully. Such an attempt to drive Americans out of the region primarily economically cannot but rejoice. Moreover, China has all the conditions to achieve this goal. It does not try to impose its own values, and this is especially important for Arab countries in light of what is happening in the US and Europe with the so-called liberal ideology.
At the same time, China, recognizing the complexity of this attempt, is not trying to take on the role of the gendarme, because the example of the US shame in Afghanistan is very convincing. However, it is only a matter of time before Beijing’s economic capital turns into political capital.
For Moscow, growing influence of the Chinese partner is fine as long as it is associated with limiting the role of the United States, but not with turning the Arab world into its gas station.
Of course, after Russia’s successes in this area in Syria, its existential interests do not cause concern: Islamist terrorism was defeated thanks to victories against ISIS *, which means that this factor will not allow external forces to destabilize the situation. in the Caucasus or in the Muslim parts of the country.
Another reason for the calm is the strategic nature of the visit – China is making plans for the day after tomorrow, not even for a historic tomorrow.
* A terrorist organization banned in Russia.
I’m Harold O’Connor and I work as an author and editor for News Unrolled, a news website dedicated to delivering the latest world events. With my in-depth research skills, passion for news writing, and keen eye for detail, I strive to provide readers with accurate information on current affairs from around the globe.