Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday evening to discuss the oil trade. Xi last visited the region four years ago, when he gave $23 billion in loans because he wanted Beijing to become a peacekeeper in the Middle East. Reports claim that China may work with Russia and Saudi Arabia toward a new initiative to trade oil for gold and national currencies instead of the U.S. dollar.
The trip is a political move to showcase Beijing’s ambitions to expand its influence and challenge the relationship between the U.S. and the Gulf.
Growing relations with the Middle East will be an asset to China as the rival of the United States. To increase tensions with the U.S., China wants to export more of its technology and increase investments in ports, mining, nuclear technology, and defense in the Middle East. For Saudi Arabia, the visit solidifies Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a regional heavyweight. Xi met Saudi leaders on Thursday, and summits that include heads of state in other countries in the Middle East meet on Friday.
😎🇨🇳🔥 Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Saudi Arabia for three-day visit, his first tomorrow world's biggest oil exporter since 2016.
Saudi fighter jets escorted his plane until it landed. pic.twitter.com/LM3mF8QdA0
— AmericanPatriot 🇺🇸 (@ColdWarPatriot) December 8, 2022
Saudi Arabia and China depend on one another for oil and are expected to announce billions of dollars in new deals after the meeting. China is a top oil consumer in the Gulf because of its energy security. Prince Mohammed wants to diversify the Saudi Arabian economy and build a defense industry. He hopes China would provide the technology and knowledge to aid his nation.
U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia were speculated to be at significant risk after President Biden visited the nation in July. The president did not secure greater oil production for the Saudis. As a result, the Saudi government cut oil production by about 2 million barrels daily.