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Saudi Arabia and the Asian Rumbling - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English
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Opinion

Saudi Arabia and the Asian Rumbling

In Jakarta as in Kuala Lumpur, the visiting journalist can easily hear the deep Asian rumbling which signifies nations are eager to reserve themselves a place in the future and unwilling to abandon to the fate of the marginalized in the global village.

We are talking about hundreds of millions – what was only a dream, years ago, to quit the world of poverty, unemployment and lagging behind has turned into development experiments that changed fates and put countries and huge groups on the future track. Technological revolutions facilitated the victory of the digital world over that of illusions.

Malaysia has something to say to the world as well as Indonesia, while Japan is busy accumulating successes. China is in a race against time on the silk and future roads after it has become the second strongest economy in the world. The economic reinforcement went hand in hand with growing political weight.

The Asian progress became a reality that is perplexing policy makers and strategists. Such a success needs new partnerships even if it requires time.

Saudi Arabia has become aware of the importance of dealing with the Asian progress, deciding to discover opportunities and lay solid foundations for cooperation.

It has also realized the importance of diversifying partnerships and expanding relations, while keeping traditional ties and fixed alliances. Saudi Arabia’s own experience with improving the economy and consolidating its competitive ability has helped it deal with the Asian progress.

No surprise the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz was highly welcomed in Malaysia and Indonesia. Given Saudi Arabia’s religious significance, it enjoys a history of cooperation, solidarity and initiatives with Islamic nations.

Speeches delivered by King Salman in Malaysia and Indonesia reflected the Saudi interest in building bridges on solid foundations of common interests that lead to stable relations. This is the language of partnership in mutual interests, an economic cooperation that provides more growth and job opportunities as well as an exchange of educational and technological expertise.

This partnership also stresses that the Islamic world is facing huge challenges including education, which requires modernization. Clearly, the Saudi policy aims at overcoming traditional statements and establishing actual partnerships while using the language of the current era.

In his speech, King Salman also focused on the importance of confronting extremism and attempts of terrorists to become decision-makers in certain countries or regions, pushing the Islamic world towards isolation or putting it on a collision course with the international community.

Fighting terrorism has become the basis of discussions held by Saudi officials. In the two Asian countries, it was clear that a great hope was pinned on the Saudi role in confronting terrorism that is causing bloodshed in Islamic countries before any other state in the world. King Salman’s meeting with religious leaders in Indonesia delivered a message of tolerance and coexistence.

King Salman tackled a third issue in the Indonesian parliament, when he warned of the risks of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, hinting to Iranian interferences that are leading to bloodshed in a number of Middle East countries.

Countries’ interest in the essential role of Saudi Arabia in fighting terrorism coincides with an interest in the kingdom’s ambition to reserve its place in the future via Saudi Vision 2030. The vision has also become a basis for talks held by officials of states that welcome Saudi visiting figures because the success of this experience will not be restricted to the Saudi people.

The language of bridges and digits will also be present in two coming events in Japan and China. The rumbling of Asian progress is uttered from diverse traditions but reflects a common dream to be part of the future.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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