Saudi Arabia—a key U.S. ally in the Middle East—is inching closer toward China.
The kingdom moving to join a security bloc as a “dialogue partner.” It’s led by China.
The bloc is called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China and Russia set it up in the early 2,000 to counter Western influence. Members now include India, Pakistan, and former Soviet states in central Asia.
This comes after China helped Saudi Arabia and Iran resume their diplomatic relations. This is a big deal because the two countries had cut their ties for seven years. The two are also known as “mortal enemies,” having engaged in proxy fights in Yemen.
Experts say the deal is a sign of China’s increasing influence in the oil-rich region and that holds significant meaning for the U.S. because Saudi is a traditional U.S. ally in the region. But relations between the two countries have been under significant strain. Following the Biden administration’s criticism over Saudi’s human rights record and disputes over oil production.