The United States spends around $40 billion to $50 billion per year to protect the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to the global economy, more than the entire defense budgets of all but a few countries. China, by comparison, spends virtually nothing on Gulf security, while pursuing its strategy of building political and economic relations with oil-rich countries in order to secure oil for its growing economy. This is nowhere more apparent than in China's relations with Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil power.
Beijing's focus on the Persian Gulf began in earnest in 1978, when it implemented the "Reform and Opening Up" policy, aimed at modernizing the Chinese economy. The policy's objectives made secure access to Middle East oil and good relations with oil-rich countries critical. Saudi Arabia figured prominently into China's plans, and over time, bilateral relations gradually improved. As multiyear data gathered from the Chinese Customs Statistical Yearbook shows, Sino-Saudi trade grew 6,000-fold from 1978-2003. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $18 monthly or $118/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Global Insights: In Ukraine Crisis, China Chooses Russia Ties Over Principles
- Diplomatic Fallout: Why the Ukraine Crisis Is Good for Obama
- Saudi Arabia Walks Tightrope With Shift in Syria, Regional Policies
- Iran’s Structural Constraints Limit Rouhani’s Domestic Agenda
- In Lebanon, New Government Unlikely to Herald New Political Era