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China, Saudi Arabia Signs Multiple Deals Including Huawei, Deepens Ties

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has deepened ties with Saudi Arabia as the Chinese President has signed several strategic deals with Saudi King Salman on Thursday during Xi’s visit to Saudi Arabia. One of the deals includes Chinese tech giant Huawei, whose expanding presence in the Gulf area has caused the United States to worry about its security.

Xi was lavishly welcomed in Saudi Arabia which is looking out for newer partnerships and whose King Salman has signed a “comprehensive strategic partnership agreement” with the Chinese President. Xi is on a three-day visit during which he is scheduled to attend Arab and Gulf summits. The visit has come at a time when the United States’ relations with the Saudi kingdom are at their lowest. 

Xi held discussions with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. With his visit and discussions with the de facto ruler of the oil giant, Xi ushered in “a new era” strengthening his ties with the Arab world.  

The United States, which is watching each step of China very closely, said on Wednesday, Xi’s visit was an illustration of China’s attempts to exercise influence globally and would not alter American policy toward the Middle East.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greeted Xi at the palace, the king’s official residence and the center of the royal court. 

China is the world’s largest crude oil importer and relies majorly on Saudi Arabia for it. The Saudi state media reported that the agreements between the two countries were valued at around $30bn. Saudi officials state deals regarding Huawei Technologies include cloud computing, data centers, and building high-tech complexes in Saudi cities.

Despite U.S. anxiety with Gulf allies over a potential security risk in employing the Chinese firm’s equipment, a pact on cloud computing and establishing high-tech complexes in Saudi cities was agreed upon with Huawei Technologies of China. Despite the U.S. worries, Huawei has helped create 5G networks in the majority of the Gulf states.

Saudi state media mentioned 34 investment agreements in sectors including green hydrogen, information technology, transport and construction.

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