China Looking to Expand Saudi Trade Via Renewable Energy, Petrochemicals

By Gary Grappo

Gary Grappo is a former U.S. ambassador who held senior positions including Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman; and Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a career member of the Senior Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, he served as Envoy and Head of Mission of the Office of the Quartet Representative, the Honorable Mr. Tony Blair, in Jerusalem. He’s currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Middle East Studies at the Korbel School for International Studies, University of Denver.

Saudi-China bilateral relations took a notable upswing this March after Saudi King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed landmark economic deals worth approximately $65 billion. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with Gary Grappo, former U.S. Ambassador to Oman, about Saudi Arabia’s and China’s economic strategies as well as China’s growing role in the Middle East.

TCB: What is the current level of bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and China? In what sectors (economic, defense, military, etc.) is cooperation between the two countries most prominent?

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