Saudi Arabia hosting the Chinese president is a ‘sovereign decision’, stresses US – Middle East Monitor
The US State Department said on Monday that Saudi Arabia’s decision to accept Chinese President Xi Jinping was a “sovereign decision”.
“The point that we have consistently emphasized throughout this administration is that we are not asking countries around the world to choose between the United States and the United States [People’s Republic of China]’ Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. “We’re not asking countries around the world to choose between the United States and any other country. Countries will make their own sovereign decisions about their foreign policies, about their relationships, about their partnerships and alliances.”
America’s goal, Price added, is to give countries around the world a choice. “And we want to make the United States choice and what we’re bringing to the table the most attractive option available.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan announced last Thursday that Xi Jinping would visit the kingdom soon, but did not give a date. During a meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia Joint Committee, Bin Farhan stressed the strength of ties between Riyadh and Beijing, saying they had achieved tangible results over the years.
“The Kingdom gives priority to bilateral relations with China,” said the minister, “and always strives to coordinate positions on issues affecting the two countries.”
READ: Saudi Arabia, China discuss strengthening mutual ties
That Guardian quoted Saudi sources in August as saying that unlike US President Joe Biden’s reception in July, the Chinese leader will have a legendary reception.
This will be Xi Jinping’s first visit to the kingdom since 2016. The Chinese president’s trip to the kingdom comes at a time of tension in US-Saudi Arabia relations over the decision by the OPEC+ alliance, led by Riyadh, to cut oil production.
Talks were under way within the Biden administration to impose punitive measures on Saudi Arabia, including a reduction in military support, in response to the OPEC decision, according to a US TV channel over the weekend.