China, Saudi Arabia Cement Ties

    Photo: Saudi Press Agency/Handout/Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • Saudi King Salman and Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping on Thursday signed a "comprehensive strategic partnership agreement" as part of Xi's historic visit to Riyadh aimed at bolstering political and economic ties.

    • The multiple strategic deals between the two countries included an MoU with China's Huawei Technologies on cloud computing and building high-tech complexes in Saudi cities.


    The Spin

    Pro-China narrative

    Xi's trip is a fantastic opportunity for China to increase trade and cooperation with the Arab world, specifically its main oil-producing states. China and the Middle East are natural cooperative partners, as they have shared experiences in their respective struggles with Western imperialism. The Arab world has become tired of the condescending arrogance of the West and deserves a real international partner, such as China.

    Anti-China narrative

    Though Xi's trip to Saudi Arabia may seem like a routine summit, in reality, it demonstrates China's desire to export its own brand of high-tech authoritarianism. China's goals are overall economic in nature, but they also seek to empower the region's despots within a system of totalitarian capitalism. For China, ideals like freedom and democracy mean nothing, and economic and geopolitical interests trump all.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that there will be a mile-high building by February, 2042, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

    PRO

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