The Big Picture

Saudi Arabia's China Moment

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  • Chinese President Xi Jinping's three-day visit comes at a time of uneasy US-Saudi relations, creating an opportunity for closer political alignment between Beijing and Riyadh.

  • China's ties with the Mideast Gulf are dominated by its desire to secure stable oil supplies, while secure Chinese demand is of growing importance for producers like Saudi Arabia, especially as more Russian oil flows east.

Saudi Arabia rolled out a royal purple-carpet welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s much-anticipated visit to Riyadh this week, a visit that signals Beijing's clear desire for closer ties with its top oil supplier. It comes at a critical time, amid cooling US-Saudi relations, simmering US-China tensions, Washington's perceived disengagement from the Middle East, and heightened oil market uncertainties caused by the Ukraine conflict.

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