Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved on Wednesday a decision to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as Riyadh builds a long-term partnership with China despite US security concerns.
According to the official news agency SPA, Saudi Arabia has approved an agreement giving the country status as a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
China, India, Russia, and other nations from much of Eurasia make up the SCO, a political and military union.
In order to play a larger role as a counterweight to Western influence in the region, the body that was originally founded in 2001 by Russia, China, and former Soviet states in Central Asia has been extended to include India and Pakistan.
Last year, Iran completed the necessary paperwork to become a full member.
According to sources,, Chinese President Xi Jinping considered joining the SCO while in Saudi Arabia last December.
Before granting the kingdom complete membership in the organization, they said, dialogue partner status will be required.
The choice was made in response to Saudi Aramco’s statement on Tuesday that it had finalised a planned joint venture in northeast China and bought a stake in a privately controlled petrochemical company, increasing its multi-billion dollar investment in China.
Washington, Riyadh’s steady ally, is concerned about security due to the kingdom’s expanding relations with Beijing. Chinese efforts to influence global affairs, according to Washington, won’t alter US strategy towards the Middle East.
Concerned about what they perceive to be the United States’ withdrawal from the area as the primary security guarantor, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states have taken steps to diversify their partners. Washington claims it will continue to be a key player in the area.