Biden won’t walk away from Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia won’t walk away from China

Biden won’t walk away from Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia won’t walk away from China
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrive for the family photo during the Jeddah Security and Development Summit (GCC+3) at a hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia July 16, 2022. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

President Biden has been in the Middle East for the past few days trying to strengthen ties in places like Israel and Palestinian-occupied territories while also trying to repair them in Saudi Arabia – a place he’s previously condemned for human rights abuses.

A hotly-discussed topic during his time in Saudi Arabia has been oil prices (since the country is the world’s second-biggest oil producer). Still, Biden said at a summit that another big priority for him was making sure other world leaders couldn’t step in and take the US’ place in the country. Namely, he said, he’s worried about China, Russia and Iran.

But Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, told CNBC that its relationship with the US and China were not mutually exclusive and that it would continue trading with both of them instead of picking sides.

Key comments:

“We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran,” said Biden at a summit of Arab leaders in the Middle East. “We will seek to build on this moment with active, principled, American leadership.”

“We build bridges with people; we don’t see one as exclusive of the other,” said Saudi Arabian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir to CNBC. “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 said.