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The dimensions and prospects of Saudi military cooperation with China and America’s concern

Pak Sahafat – Saudi Arabia’s long vision for military cooperation with China, especially in the field of drones and ballistic weapons, has caused concern for the United States and Western countries over the past years; Especially since many military contracts between Riyadh and Beijing have been secret.

According to the International group of Pak Sahafat news agency, Simultaneously with the tension in the relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia in the past 3 years after Joe Biden took office in the White House and the differences he had with the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, the speed of Saudi cooperation with America’s major competitors such as China And Russia increased and reached the level of expansion of military cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing.

The most secret military case that currently exists between Saudi Arabia and China is the “missile weapons” case, and recently there were reports that the two sides are willing to cooperate in the field of nuclear technology; especially after the United States opposed Saudi Arabia’s acquisition of this technology. For this purpose, last month, the Chinese and Saudi sides held a wide round of military talks with the aim of strengthening defense cooperation.

One of the issues that is important for the Saudis in military cooperation with China is the acquisition of a number of Chinese-made A-300 tactical missile launchers, which is one of the newest Chinese missile systems and its maximum range is about 300 kilometers. Some military circles evaluate these talks in the context of Riyadh’s strong desire to expand military cooperation with countries such as China, as well as strengthen defense relations with African and Asian countries, especially in the field of defense weapons production.

The role of drones in the military cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s high desire for military cooperation with China can be clearly seen in the field of drones. In 2014, Riyadh signed a contract to purchase Chinese attack drones of the Wing Long 1 and 2 type. The cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in this field has expanded to the level of drone production. In 2017, Saudi Arabia signed a contract with the Chinese company “Chengdu” to manufacture drones in Saudi factories, and additional talks between the two parties were held at the beginning of this year to purchase other types of drones from this Chinese company and to jointly produce drones.

Last May, the Saudi Arabian Military Industry Company entered into negotiations with the Chinese company Norinco for defense industries regarding the purchase of a group of UAVs for military use, including the Sky Saker FX80 and CR500 UAVs. Talks were also held for the purchase of a large array of military systems between the two sides late last year, including the Eagle Strike 21E anti-ship missiles and the HQ-17AE short-range air defense system.

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Why did Saudi Arabia turn to China’s ballistic weapons?

The most important and advanced developments in the military relations between China and Saudi Arabia are related to the “ballistic missile weapons” case, which has always been a source of tension between Riyadh and Washington. The reason for Saudi Arabia’s desire to buy these weapons from China is that over the past years, the United States and Western countries have constantly avoided responding to Riyadh’s requests to buy these weapons, and the American excuse for not selling ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia was that it does not want to create become an arms race in the Middle East.

In addition, the United States is a signatory to the Missile Technology Proliferation Control Protocol, known as the MTCR, which was issued in 1987 and prohibits the export of any missile that can carry a payload of at least 500 kilograms and has a range of more than 300 kilometers. But the main goal of the US in not responding to Saudi requests in this regard is to guarantee the “military superiority” of the Zionist regime in the region; just as the Americans are not willing to give nuclear concessions to Riyadh even in exchange for the normalization of Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime.

The West and the United States are concerned about the development of military relations between Riyadh and Beijing

Since then, Western assessments have indicated that Riyadh is looking for the technical development of its medium-range and long-range ballistic missile base, as well as developing its capabilities for the production and development and modernization of missile weapons. In recent years, China has also tried to use the gap created in the relations between Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, with the United States to achieve its strategic goals in the Middle East, and military cooperation with the aforementioned countries is one of the ways to achieve these goals.

But the concerns of the West and the United States about the military relations between China and Saudi Arabia intensified in 2013; When Saudi Arabia unveiled 2 types of Chinese ballistic missiles. The first is the Chinese DF-15C ballistic missile, which operates on solid fuel and has a range of 850 km, and specializes in destroying highly fortified or underground military installations.

But the second is the Chinese DF-15A missile, which operates on solid fuel and whose warhead is equipped with MARV re-entry technology. This technology allows the missile warhead to detach and re-enter the atmosphere at high speed in the direction of the target directly in a short time.

Westerners’ talk about this case has been strongly repeated recently, and the American press in May and June 2022 talked about the imminent arrival of new types of Chinese ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia, within the framework of this country’s missile program.

The American press and think tanks had previously reported that Riyadh actually has 7 missile bases, most of which include facilities for testing missiles as well as domestic assembly of ballistic missiles.

One of the most important reasons that justify this fear of the Americans is that any acquisition of new Chinese weapons by Riyadh has always been done in complete secrecy and no public information about it was published until several years later.

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