Saudi Arabia Strengthens Bond With China by Joining SCO Bloc as Dialogue Partner – Recently, China, which is part of the BRICS group, has been enhancing its ties with Saudi Arabia. According to various reports, the Riyadh Cabinet has given the green light for joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a coalition of Eurasian nations established by China that is currently the largest political, economic, and military alliance globally.
Some of the members of this alliance are India, Russia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, among others. In September 2022, Simon Watkins, an author for Oilprice.com, was the first to report that Saudi Arabia had initiated a memorandum of understanding to join the SCO. Following the Cabinet’s approval in Saudi Arabia to join the SCO, the country announced a renewed relationship with Iran, along with plans to decrease daily oil production.
Senior diplomats from Saudi Arabia and Iran recently met in China to restore ties between the two nations. Iran announced its intention to reopen embassies and consulates, and both regions aim to revive trade deals. However, according to a report by The Washington Post, the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Bill Burns, stated that the United States feels “blindsided” by Riyadh’s actions to collaborate with Iran.
Officials from Saudi Arabia and Iran reconvened in Beijing on April 6 and reinstated flights and visa issuance for their citizens after a seven-year estrangement. Iran is among the nine dialogue partners, including Turkey and Qatar, as an SCO observer member. The United States’ application to become an SCO observer was rejected in 2005. The SCO is under the leadership of Secretary-General Zhang Ming and has its headquarters located in Beijing.
Although the bond between China and Saudi Arabia has grown stronger, the Kingdom’s relationship with Russia has also intensified during the same period. It was previously disclosed that the Saudi government had declared a reduction in oil production in collaboration with fellow members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). In addition, the Russian Federation expressed its intention to participate in this effort to cut oil production, aligning itself with Riyadh, and has been working together with Saudi Arabia towards this goal since December 2016.
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The relationship between Saudi leaders and Russia became closer in 2017, when king Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud visited the country. Furthermore, the bond between the two nations has continued to strengthen, particularly after Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman negotiated the release of ten prisoners of war in September.
Over the past month, the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have significantly stepped up their political maneuvers. China and Brazil, for instance, recently inked a bilateral deal to trade Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in their national currencies, while the BRICS group has now become the world’s largest GDP bloc. India has also announced that it will facilitate international trade settlements in rupees, while Russia’s State Duma’s Deputy Chairman, Alexander Babakov, has revealed that the BRICS bloc intends to discuss a new reserve currency.
Back in 2005, the United States was not granted observer status by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with Russia and China expressing concern about the U.S.’s presence in Central Asia. The SCO believed that the U.S. did not adequately demonstrate its commitment to the organization’s principles and goals. Over the last 17 years, the relationship between the U.S., Russia, and China has significantly deteriorated.
Although China has been seeking to establish new alliances in Africa, the U.S.’s vice president, Kamala Harris, visited the continent last week. The NYT reported that Russia has also been working with several African countries, and some have suggested that Africa’s relationships with China and Russia could result in a cold war with the United States