As US President Joe Biden made an official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), one of the senior ambassadors in the kingdom said that Saudi Arabia would continue to enhance its partnerships with both the US and China. The American public closely monitored the visit, but how important is staying positive links for the Arab country?

“We build bridges with people; we don’t see one as exclusive of the other,” Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir conveyed in a media interview.

The conversation occurred within US President Biden’s widely covered and roundly derided maiden visit to the Middle East since he took his current position. The President of the US was to mend diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, a kingdom that has been a complex and strong ally for the US and that he has repeatedly rebuked for its crimes and violations against humanity.

He stated that Saudi Arabia wants to be able to “deal” with everyone, just as we want to engage in conversations with everybody. “We want to be able to deal with everybody, and we want to be able to engage with everybody. This is what we have done,” he added.

The envoy explained how important it is to stay keep ties with the two superpower countries—the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s most important commercial partner in China. According to the envoy, it will be a massive market in the coming years and is already making an enormous dent in the country’s GDP. China, too, is a significant shareholder in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the US is Saudi Arabia’s most important partner in terms of “political and security coordination.

Biden praised its withstanding relationship with the kingdom and went to “great lengths” to explain why it was integral for US preferences during the visit. For example, despite staggeringly rising fuel prices for American consumers, an energy and food crisis stimulated by the bloody conflict in Ukraine, and a plan to bring the Saudis and “Israel” closer together. He also lauded a new program establishing diplomatic links with Saudi and Israel. 

Prior to his election, President Biden had promised his supporters that a goal of his administration would be to make Saudi Arabia “a pariah” in the international community in retaliation for the Saudi government’s apparent involvement in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist and leader of a political party in opposition to the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia.  Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia on a seeming fence-mending mission has drawn criticism from members of his own party which want crippling sanctions imposed on the kingdom in retaliation for its human rights abuses.

From Republicans, President Biden drew criticism for appearing before the Saudi Royals, hat in hand, and appearing to beg for increased output of Saudi oil to lower gas prices, while his own energy policies in the US have served to suppress domestic production of oil and natural gas, which is produced and shipped much more cleanly and safely. Prior to his election, President Biden made no secret of his intentions of “ending fossil fuels” during his administration.


Saudi Arabia and the US are closely linked to a mutual understanding that promotes various causes. In an opinion piece published last week, the president outlined these interests, including regional peace and security, the fight against terrorism, a “united front” in negotiating with Iran, a truce in Yemen, and the “stabilization” of the oil market are the foremost reasons to stay on both ends of their cooperation. Additionally, the US’ most reliable purchaser of armaments is Saudi Arabia.

President Joe Biden talks on the phone with King Salman of Saudi Arabia Wednesday, February 9, 2022, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Source: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

In November 2021, the US handed its approval as per the announcement made by the Pentagon for the sale of air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia for the price of $650 million. This would be the first significant arms deal the Biden administration has struck with the Arab kingdom. This transaction comes after Biden announced that the US would halt its backing for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive activities” in Yemen, including related arms shipments. In 2015, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a coalition of its regional allies began a ground offensive against the country’s Houthi rebels, who had seized possession of the capital city of Sanaa and a large portion of the country. This was the beginning of the Saudi involvement in Yemen.

The Houthis and Tehran both deny the charges that they are acting as pawns for Iran, despite Saudi Arabia’s conviction that they are.

Saudi and China

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in the hotel lobby in Hangzhou, China, on September 4, 2016. (Source: US Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

In 1990, Saudi Arabia was one of the last Middle Eastern countries to acknowledge the Chinese Communist Party as China’s legitimate form of government, which has changed during the past few years; however, both nations have already been striving to deepen their connections with one another. Therefore, the prospect of Saudi Arabia teaming up with China is quite appealing. Moreover, it has a sterling track reputation for “ostensibly not interfering” in the internal politics of other countries, and its stances on the infringement of civil rights are often the same as those of the other countries.

The situation in Ukraine has likely prompted these nations to move more quickly toward a tighter alliance. China obtains most of its fuel from Saudi Arabia, followed by Russia as a provider from other regions. In light of the penalties imposed in retaliation to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, which makes it highly challenging to get Russian fuel, Beijing strives to maintain a good association with the oil superpower country it uses.