Three Arab diplomats in the region who are familiar with the plans stated on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia intends to host a Chinese-Arab summit on December 9 in the course of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country.
On Dec. 7, according to two of the diplomats and a fourth source with direct knowledge of the trip, Xi is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh. The trip will take place at a delicate time for Saudi-American relations, which have been strained by a dispute over energy supplies and worries about the rise of Chinese influence in the Middle East.
In recent years, Gulf Arab states have stepped up their relations with China and Russia as regional skepticism about the region’s relationship with the United States, a vital security ally, has grown.
When it comes to their ties with Russia, another member of the OPEC+ oil production alliance, and China, a significant trading partner, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have defied American pressure to “choose sides.”
The decision by OPEC+ to cut output targets in October in defiance of U.S. objections infuriated the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, further deteriorating long-standing ties with Saudi Arabia that Biden had attempted to mend during a difficult visit to the kingdom in July.