March 23, 2019

The Saudi Turn Towards China

“It is, in its way, the most shocking spectacle in world politics since the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: Even as Beijing is stepping up its persecution of Muslim Uighurs, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia cozied up to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his trip to China last week.

More than a million Uighur Muslims are said to be held in Chinese concentration and “re-education” camps, where beatings and mass rapes are reliably reported to be perpetrated against detainees. Yet the crown prince of the leading Sunni Islamic state signed almost $30 billion in trade agreements with China, hailed the long problem-free relationship between the two countries, pledged support for the Belt and Road initiative, and announced that Saudi Arabia respected China’s need to protect its domestic security in its own way.

God may be great, but Xi Jinping, apparently, is greater. Or at least more useful.”

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