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Saudi Arabia Says it Will Collaborate, Not Compete With China

Cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing has deepened in security and sensitive tech amid a warming of political ties

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud speaks as event moderator Dan Murphy reacts during 10th Arab-China Business Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: Reuters


Saudi Arabia wants to collaborate, not compete, with China, the kingdom’s energy minister declared on Sunday, saying he “ignored” Western suspicions over their growing ties.

As the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia’s bilateral relationship with the world’s biggest energy consumer is anchored by hydrocarbon ties.

Cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing has also deepened in security and sensitive tech amid a warming of political ties – to the concern of the US.


Also on AF: Saudi Arabia Emerging as Hot New Market For Chinese Investors


Asked about criticism of the bilateral relationship during an Arab-China business conference, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said: “I actually ignore it because … as a business person .. now you will go where opportunity comes your way.

“We don’t have to be facing any choice which has to do with [saying] either with us or with the others.”

Chinese entrepreneurs and investors have flocked to Riyadh for the conference, which came days after a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


Capturing oil demand

In March, state oil giant Saudi Aramco announced two major deals to raise its multi-billion dollar investment in China and bolster its rank as China’s top provider of crude.

They were the biggest announced since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia in December where he called for oil trade in yuan, a move that would weaken the dollar’s dominance.

“Oil demand in China is still growing, so of course we have to capture some of that demand,” Prince Abdulaziz said. “Instead of competing with China, collaborate with China.”

The two nations’ momentum has also raised prospects for a successful conclusion to negotiations for a free trade deal between China and the Saudi Arabia-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), ongoing since 2004.

Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al Falih said any agreement would have to protect emerging Gulf industries as the region starts to diversify towards non-oil economic sectors.

“We need to enable and empower our industries to export, so we hope all countries that negotiate with us for free trade deals know we need to protect our new, emerging industries,” Falih said, adding he hoped a deal would soon be struck.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


Also read:

Beijing Tight-Lipped on Blinken’s Plan to Visit China This Month

China’s Moves to Boost Use of The Yuan Starting to Pay Off

Xi’s ‘Pioneering’ Saudi Trip to Boost Energy, Tech Ties

Saudi Arabia Inks Deal With Huawei During Xi Visit Despite US Fears

China, Saudi Arabia Pledge Closer Energy Cooperation



Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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