China and the Middle East Part 2

Saudi Arabia’s First Domestic Long-distance UAV Fires Only Chinese-made Missiles and Bombs

May 14, 2017

  • Saqr 1, Saudi Arabia’s first indigenous medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), shows strong Chinese influence in its design and is armed only with Chinese guided missiles and smart bombs. The UAV will see action against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fighting against a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab nations. Saqr 1 was first revealed to the public a few days ago at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh. KACST President Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed said Saqr 1 is equipped with a Ka satellite communication system and with thermal imaging and surveillance technology for weapon guidance.

Saudi Arabia Buying and Building Chinese Armed Drones

April 12, 2017

  • Saudi Arabia has now been confirmed as the customer that has ordered from China a large quantity of the Wing Loong II UCAV that made its first flight on February 27. Chinese state news agency Xinhua said that this is the country’s largest-ever arms export. Media in Saudi Arabia reported that the Kingdom will acquire 300 Chinese UAVs (eg. Wing Loong IIs) worth approximately $10 billion. The Wing Loong (Pterodactyl) series is produced by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG).

China, Russia, Pakistan joining hands on Afghan problem: Report

Apr 03, 2017

  • ISLAMABAD: China, Pakistan and Russia are inching closer to form an alliance to stabilise war-torn Afghanistan, where the three countries see the emergence of Islamic State terror group as a common threat, a media report today said. The strategic calculation are changing after competing for well over two decades. Islamabad and Moscow are all set to become part of a possible alliance in a dramatic turnaround in their otherwise frosty relationship for decades.

China, Saudi Arabia militaries agree to boost bilateral ties

3 26 2017

  • BEIJING: China and Saudi Arabia have agreed to implement the consensus reached between heads of the two states and promote bilateral relations between two countries and two militaries to a new level. Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), General Xu Qiliang during his recently held meetings Saudi Arabia held talks with Saudi Arabian Second Deputy Premier and Defense Minister, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia permits China to set up 1st drone factory in Middle East

Mar 26, 2017

  • BEIJING: Saudi Arabia has permitted a Chinese firm to set up a factory to manufacture hunter-killer aerial drones for the first time in the Middle East, in a boost to China’s drone manufacturing industry. Saudi Arabia’s key science and technology organisation has confirmed that one of the deals sealed during Saudi King Salman’s visit to China this month was an agreement to set up the first factory for Chinese hunter-killer aerial drones in the Middle East.

China Grants Egypt $US 71 Million for Satellite Project, Vocational Training Centre

March 22, 2017

  • Egyptian Minister of Investments and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has agreed with Chinese Ambassador on a $US 71 million Chinese grant. According to a statement by the Ministry of Investments and International Cooperation, $US 64 million of the grant will finance the feasibility studies of the second phase of the second Egyptian Satellite project. The remaining $US 7 million will be used to establish a vocational training centre at the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

After Saudi king, China warmly welcomes Israel’s prime minister

Mar 20, 2017

  • China welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday just days after hosting Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and the signing of deals worth as much as $65 billion with Riyadh, as China steps up its tentative engagement with the Middle East. China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.

Saudi Arabia and China just hit the ‘next level’ for strategic collaboration, Saudi CEO says

19 Mar 2017

  • A days-old agreement between a major Saudi company and one of China’s largest enterprises represents “the next level” of strategic collaboration between the two countries, according to the Saudi firm’s CEO. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a manufacturing company involved in chemicals and more, signed an agreement Thursday with Chinese state-owned Sinopec Group for new joint projects and potentially increased investment in an existing joint venture. Speaking with CNBC on Saturday morning at the China Development Forum in Beijing, SABIC CEO Yousef Abdullah Al-Benyan explained that deal.

Saudi Arabia, China sign deals worth up to $85 billion

March 18 2017

  • During his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, King Salman oversaw the signing of up to $US65 billion ($85 billion) worth of economic and trade deals, spanning sectors from energy to space, though the Chinese government disclosed few specifics. Saudi Arabia and China also deepened their energy relationship with more than 20 agreements on oil investments and in renewable energy. China even discussed taking a stake in Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil firm, which is preparing for a public listing, Bloomberg reported.

Growing Relations between Saudi Arabia and China

30 January 2017

  • On October 27, 2016, a joint anti-terrorism exercise was completed in China, with dozens of combatants from the Chinese and Saudi Arabian special forces participating. The exercise, the first of its kind, invites an examination of trends in China-Saudi relations as part of the network of ties between world powers and leading Middle East states. From China’s perspective, enhanced relations with the Saudi kingdom address a variety of interests, including: promoting security and energy interests and boosting its economy; balancing its strategic posture, which is heavily based in East Asia, by turning westward; improving its internal stability in western China by striving to stabilize the near periphery in central Asia and the distant periphery in the Middle East; alleviating the domestic threats of radical Islam (posed particularly by the Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region) and minimizing the external criticism of China’s treatment of its Muslim citizens; and finally, recognition of its standing as a global power, while increasing its involvement in an asset-rich region.

China gets assertive, has warships tour Gulf Arab states amid Trump’s ‘America First’ shift

Jan 24, 2017

  • Chinese warships have embarked on a tour of Gulf Arab states for the first time in six years as Beijing has signaled a desire to play a bigger role on the global stage. Three Chinese vessels, including a guided-missile destroyer, arrived in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday following a visit to the Saudi port city of Jeddah, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. China’s navy regularly tours the world and its ships patrol off the coasts of Yemen and Somalia as part of international anti-piracy operations. Visits to Gulf Arab states, where both the U.S. and Britain have naval bases, are less common.

While The Rest Of The World Retreats, China Expands Investment In The Arab World


  • In North Africa, the Chinese are investing heavily in Algerian oil infrastructure and spending billions in Egypt, including a $45 billion dollar proposal to build a new capital outside of Cairo. Similarly, in the Mideast, China seeks to build on its “no strings attached” model that served it so well in Africa to make inroads in Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan. And in the Persian Gulf, China is now Iran’s largest trading partner ― while also planning massive oil investments with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, among others. China no doubt senses an opportunity to fill a void left by the retreat of U.S. and European influence in the Arab world, and it likely feels a new sense of confidence from its successful economic engagement over the past decade in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. However, Arab politics are different.

UAE-China partnership: Mutual cooperation from space to film

December 5, 2016

  • From space to films, the UAE has been ramping up its cooperation with China. Last year, the UAE’s use of the yuan comprised 74 per cent of all payments by value to China and Hong Kong, up by 52 per cent from 2014, according to the financial messaging company Swift. China also renewed its yuan swap agreement last year with the UAE, in its latest move to internationalise the yuan. The agreement allows the UAE Central Bank to provide up to 35 billion yuan (Dh18.67bn) to settle bilateral trades.

Why Chinese phone makers are gaining traction in the Gulf

19 November 2016

  • Leading the charge is a plethora of Chinese manufacturers who have slowly but surely won over hitherto loyal customers with increasingly impressive products and ultra-competitive prices. In the first half of this year, privately-held tech giant Huawei – which recently launched its ambitious plans to enter the next phase of cloud technology – saw sales jump by 40 per cent to about $39bn.

China, Lebanon vow to deepen military exchange


  • China is keen to develop all-round ties with Lebanon and expand military exchanges between the two armies, said Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, here on Thursday. On his two-day visit to Beirut from Nov. 16-17, Fan held talks with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Army Chief Jean Kahwagi, highlighting good chance for closer cooperation.

Qatar eyes stronger ties with China, says Deputy PM

November 15 2016

  • Qatar wants to strengthen further its “strategic relations” with China in the economic, political, and commercial fields, HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid al-Mahmoud has said.

Saudi Arabia, China sign security cooperation pact

Nov 7, 2016

  • A five-year action plan for cooperation in the field of security training between Saudi Arabia and China was signed here on Sunday. The agreement was signed during a meeting between Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, and Meng Jianzhu, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee, secretary of the Central Political Legal Committee, special envoy of the Chinese President.

China holds first anti-terror drills with Saudi Arabia

October 27 2016

  • Special forces from China and Saudi Arabia have held their first joint anti-terrorism drills, state media reported on Thursday, China’s latest effort to expand security ties with countries in the Middle East and its Muslim neighbours.

UAE’s China push is a reflection of the times

September 14, 2016

  • The UAE Cabinet last week took the bold decision to grant instant visas for Chinese visitors on their arrival to the UAE. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia signed more than 11 agreements with China related to various investment fields. Combining that with the sizeable volume of Kuwait and Qatar investments and the Bahraini and Omani approaches push in their relations with China, the GCC-China relationship should see a qualitative leap in coming years. China represents the GCC’s premier trading partner and the largest importer of petroleum products from the Gulf, and these are steadily growing.

UAE, China trade to hit $80b in two years

September 5, 2016

  • China, ranked as Dubai’s largest trade partner and the UAE’s second-biggest trading partner, is all set to take its bilateral trade to $80 billion in the next two years, and may end the current year with $60 billion up from $54.8 billion in 2014, said Hakel Wen, international VIP service executive of the China Foreign Trade Centre.

China military says it is providing medical training for Syria

Aug 25, 2016

  • China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday it has been providing medical training for Syria, following a visit to the war-ravaged country last week by a senior Chinese officer. While relying on the region for oil supplies, China tends to leave Middle Eastern diplomacy to the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France and Russia.

Pakistan donates 10,000 tons of rice to flooded areas in China’s Hubei province

August 23, 2016

  • The first batch of rice donated by Pakistan to flood-stricken areas in central China’s Hubei province arrived at Wuhan Tianhe airport on Aug. 22. The Hubei provincial government held a handover ceremony at the airport for the first 22 tons of rice. According to the donation plan, Pakistan will donate a total of 10,000 tons for disaster relief.

China ‘to provide aid, enhance military training’ in Syria – top army official

16 Aug, 2016

  • Beijing and Damascus have agreed that the Chinese military will provide humanitarian aid to Syria, a high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer said, adding that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed. Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Chinese Xinhua news agency reported.

Chinese, Afghan Armed Forces Hold First Strategic Dialogue


  • Chinese Chief of People’s Liberation Army General Staff Gen. Fang Fenghui and Afghan Chief of Army, Gen. Qadam Shah Shahim took part in the talks. “China and Afghanistan intend to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in all spheres and permanently deepen [their] defense and security partnership,” Fang was quoted as saying by the ministry.

Afghan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan form QCCM to counter terrorism

August 3, 2016

  • The armed forces of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan have formed a Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism (QCCM) to counter terrorism. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Wednesday said that the inaugural meeting of QCCM was held in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, China by the armed forces and militaries of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and Tajikistan.

China mediating between Pakistan and Iran for regional peace, security

August 1, 2016

  • Beijing has been playing a key role to mediate between Iran and Pakistan after Tehran made a formal request to this effect, The Nation reported while quoting unnamed sources on Monday.

China praises Afghanistan for fight against Chinese separatist group

Jul 31, 2016

  • China’s defense minister met the head of Afghanistan’s army, thanking him for Kabul’s support in fighting what Beijing says is an extremist group that seeks to split off its western region of Xinjiang.