The Brief, No. 37
08 December 2022
Important summits will take place in Riyadh between the President of China Xi Jinping, Saudi Arabia and leaders of the Arab World.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), “the visit will include a “Saudi-Chinese summit,” a China-Arab and a China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit”.
- Saudi Arabia is clearly trying to demonstrate its influence in the region, that it has the power to “summon in short notice” all Arab leaders to a meeting.
- Saudi Arabia is sending a message to the US that it does not need it anymore, instead it will be improving relations with China. China has surpassed US in terms of oil exports from Saudi Arabia. China is today Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, with the value of the kingdom’s exports to China have exceeded $50 billion last year, constituting more than 18% of Saudi Arabia’s total exports in 2021. Saudi-US relations are at an all-time low following criticism by President Biden of Saudi’s human rights record and acrimony as a result of reduction of oil production by OPEC days before mid-term elections.
Notably as well is the timing of the summits. Indeed Saudi - China Summit has been long in planning. However, Arab-China Summit and the GCC -China Summit were after thought meant to steal the limelight from Qatar who is currently hosting the FIFA World Cup.
Africa Asia Dialogues (Afrasid) is available for commentary and analysis.