Xi’s Visit to Saudi Arabia: New Horizon of Cooperation


At a time when Washington’s relations with Riyadh appear to be deteriorating, Saudi Arabia and China have reiterated their collaboration on the global oil market and the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs during a visit designed to strengthen strategic ties. Chinese President Xi Jinping went on a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 7 December 2022. Several strategic agreements, including one involving Chinese electronics giant Huawei, were inked by Saudi King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two parties said they “exchanged ideas regarding how to reinforce and deepen comprehensive strategic partnership relations between the Kingdom and China” in a joint statement released on 9 December 2022. It reaffirmed the significance of the values of sovereignty and ‘non-interference’ personifying from both states. Therefore, the visit will open some new horizons of cooperation between the two countries.

However, bilateral commerce between Saudi Arabia and China reached $87.3 billion last year, an increase of 30% from 2020, and in the third quarter of 2022, it reached 103 billion Saudi riyals ($27 billion). Oil accounted for a large portion of trade. In 2021, China imported $43.9 billion worth of oil from Saudi Arabia, making up 77% of all of the country’s merchandise exports to China. Additionally, that sum accounts for about 25% of Saudi Arabia’s entire crude exports. The second-largest economy in the world is heavily dependent on imported oil and gas. According to government data, it imported 72% of the oil it used last year. The demand for natural gas came from abroad in 44% of cases.  Besides, there were a number of technological collaborations between the two states happened. China happens to be the number one crude oil importer while Saudi is among the top exporters.

– Syed Raiyan Amir is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA). Previously, he served as a Research Assistant at United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and International Republican Institute (IRI).

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