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The Saudi Partnership with Asian Tigers

The Saudi Partnership with Asian Tigers

Thursday, 27 June, 2019 - 07:00
Salman Al-Dossary
Salman Al-Dossary is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

One cannot but notice the developments that have taken place in the last four years in Saudi Arabia’s relations with the East and West, especially with countries having powerful economies.


The relationship is no longer confined to immediate economic or political interests, but to strategic partnerships based on long-term mutual goals. It is also based on developments in Saudi relations with Asian countries, not only with South Korea and Japan - which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is currently visiting - but also with other countries of great importance, such as India and China.


While Saudi Arabia has the giant Vision 2030, the Asian tigers are seeking to diversify their relations with Riyadh to include the promotion of mutual investment, military cooperation and the fight against terrorism. They are also increasingly relying on Saudi oil. This will open new horizons for Riyadh’s aspiration to expand its cooperation with the Asian tigers beyond the black gold.


In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his country “supports Saudi reform efforts, and seeks to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries.”


During his lengthy meeting with the president of South Korea at the Blue House, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the strategic partnership between the two countries was an opportunity for Riyadh and Seoul to support capacity development and cooperation at the political, security, defense and economic levels, as well as cultural and social affairs.


While the economy is at the heart of strategic Saudi-Asian partnerships, one cannot overlook the increasing military capabilities of India, China and South Korea, as well as Japan’s move to change its constitution to lift restrictions that prevent it from participating in military operations abroad.


It is likely that Asian countries, in the future, will invest more in security and military relations with the Saudi partner, and there is no doubt that recent tensions in the Gulf region as a result of the Iranian escalation, will influence the role of these countries in contributing to the stability and security of oil shipping routes.


This means that as the strategic partnership deepens between the major Asian powers and Saudi Arabia, Saudi-Asian security and military cooperation will grow as a corollary of that cooperation. This will lead to a change in the strategic roles played by the Asian countries in the Middle East, especially with China and Japan being concerned about the impact of instability on their economic interests in the region.


Saudi Arabia is establishing a group of international strategic partnerships based on its evaluation and within the framework of Vision 2030 and its operational programs. The Kingdom is not only seeking to achieve its own interests, but also those of its partners, as the basis that guarantees the success and sustainability of long-term strategies.


The Asian tigers will certainly not find a country better than Saudi Arabia to be their reliable international strategic partner that serves their interests and ensures their success.

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