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Saudi Welcomes China's Contentious Tech Giant Huawei, Ignores US Concerns

The China-Saudi agreement comes shortly after the United States banned the approval of new telecommunications equipment from China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE, citing national security concerns

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Chinese President Xi Jinping’s high-profile visit to Saudi Arabia this month drew global attention to the signing of several strategic deals, including one involving the controversial Chinese tech giant Huawei, according to Al Arabiya Post.

According to Saudi officials, the deal with the embattled Huawei Technologies is related to cloud computing, data centres and the construction of high-tech complexes in Saudi cities.

The China-Saudi agreement comes just days after the US banned the approval of new telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE, citing national security concerns.

The three-day visit of Chinese President Xi to Saudi Arabia, his meetings with crucial Gulf Cooperation Council leaders and the signing of dozens of agreements with Riyadh demonstrate Beijing’s desire to expand its influence in the region.

According to regional analyst John Solomou, however, this initiative would not go so far as to replace the US security role and Saudi Arabia has been recalibrating its relations with both the US and China.

In contrast to the cold reception given to US President Joe Biden by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) last July, the Chinese leader was greeted with pomp and ceremony when he arrived in Riyadh.

Xi’s visit was described as a “milestone” in bilateral relations and is seen as a “snub” to Washington, which has repeatedly urged Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States not to be tempted by China’s commercial “carrot” and to join the sanctions imposed by the West against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Chinese leader met with Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and 86-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz. The Chinese leader said that improving relations with Saudi Arabia is a top priority in his country's Middle Eastern foreign relations and diplomacy.

A “comprehensive strategic partnership agreement” was signed by Xi and King Salman. The Chinese leader declared that the agreement marked the start of a “new era” in bilateral relations.

MBS stated that Saudi Arabia supports China's “deradicalisation” measures and efforts and he invited more Chinese companies to participate actively in the Kingdom's industrialisation process.

Later, Saudi and Chinese officials signed 34 agreements covering a wide range of sectors, including information technology, green hydrogen, photovoltaics, transportation, information technology and cloud services, house construction, logistics and medical services.

According to Saudi media, the total value of signed agreements is around USD 30 billion.

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saudi arabia china huwaei