Analysis & Opinions - The Hill

In the Gulf, China Plays to Win but US has Upper Hand

| Mar. 12, 2019

Saudi Vision 2030 — Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s bid to diversify his nation’s oil-dependent economy — is one of the most consequential development plans in modern history. So it was no surprise to see MbS, as he is known, grinning with Chinese leaders during his Asian investment trip last month. As Chinese officials raved about the “enormous potential” of the Saudi economy, Saudi officials praised the compatibility of Chinese and Saudi cultures, and MbS even defended China’s maltreatment of Muslim Uighurs.

A surge of U.S. oil production has reduced Washington’s need for imports, leaving China as the world’s largest purchaser of crude in global markets. Meanwhile, Beijing has become the largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman, as well as Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Lebanon. Now, with synergy between Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road and Vision 2030, the stars seem aligned for a Saudi-Sino alliance to displace American influence in the Gulf.

 

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For Academic Citation: Greenwald, Michael.“In the Gulf, China Plays to Win but US has Upper Hand.” The Hill, March 12, 2019.