Vivid News 24: After turning down US Vice President Joe Biden’s requests for oil two months prior, Saudi Arabia is now extending the red carpet to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
Xi will travel to Saudi Arabia for several days beginning on Wednesday. During that time, he will participate in a regional summit with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Arab leaders, which is expected to result in agreements worth about $30 billion.
According to two sources briefed on the arrangements, the program would be dominated by energy and infrastructure deals. China announced the trip early on Wednesday, a day after Xi led the country in mourning the passing of former leader Jiang Zemin following recent demonstrations against his Covid Zero policy.
The summit will provide an opportunity for both Xi and Prince Mohammed to highlight the growing links between Beijing and the Gulf, highlighting how far US-Saudi relations have fallen.
Ali Shihabi, a Saudi commentator and member of the advisory board for the Neom megaproject in his country, claimed that the visit was the “crowning or completion” of a significant deepening in relations over the previous few years. Although the US is concerned, this already solid alliance cannot be slowed down.
A low point in US-Saudi relations occurred in October when Biden threatened “consequences” after accusing Riyadh of siding with Russia on oil output cuts. However, as the US moves its global attention to the competition with China, ties have been deteriorating for some time.
Since the US ceased to be Riyadh’s largest commercial partner ten years ago, China, as well as India and Japan, have surpassed the US in importance. Trade between the US and Saudi Arabia decreased from $76 billion in 2012 to $29 billion in 2017.