Saudi Arabia is a strategic pillar on the path of the Chinese “Silk Road” initiative, which converges with the Kingdom’s ambitious 2030 vision as envisioned by the Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman and aims to make comprehensive economic reforms and diversify financial revenues in his country.
The Silk Road is an initiative launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, which aims to establish a land belt of roads and railways which pass through Central Asia and Russia, and a sea route connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe. The project is estimated to cost more than a trillion dollars.
China relies on Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in the initiative. Based on the strong economic relations between China and the Kingdom with its distinguished geographical size and location, with coasts overlooking the Red Sea — makes Saudi Arabia one of the vital arteries of the “Chinese initiative”. In addition to the Kingdom’s Arab and Islamic significance.
The initiative also coincides with the ambitious plan of the Crown Prince known as the “Vision 2030”, in reference to the comprehensive economic reform program in the Kingdom. During the Saudi-Chinese Investment Forum in Beijing early last year, the Crown Prince said that “the Arabian Peninsula is a major part of the initiative.” The Crown Prince affirmed that “the Silk Road Initiative converges, and China’s strategic orientations, in a very large way, with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
At that time, the Chinese President, during his meeting with the Crown Prince, called to accelerate the signing of agreements aimed at integrating his country’s initiative with the Saudi Vision 2030 to develop strong strategic relations between the two countries.
The initiative forms the pillars of the ambitious renaissance of the countries of the region that are witnessing major transformations in the field of diversifying the economy, developing infrastructure, providing job opportunities, and achieving sustainable development. The “Belt and Road” initiative includes more than 60 countries in the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa, whose economies amount to more than a trillion dollars, comprising of nearly a third of the current global economy.
Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, in turn, affirmed that the serious Chinese endeavors to revive the Silk Road that focus on the Middle East region to connect the east of the globe with the west, are consistent with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
In his statement during the Saudi-Chinese Investment Forum last year, he mentioned, “The vision is based on transforming the Kingdom’s unique strategic location between the main global waterways into a global logistical center and taking advantage of that to make the kingdom a point of contact between Asia, Europe, and Africa, a trade center and a gateway to global markets. Therefore, the Kingdom can play a vital role in implementing the Silk Road strategy. “
Riyadh and Beijing previously signed a memorandum of understanding on enhancing cooperation in the Economic Belt Initiative, the Silk Road Initiative, and production capacity.
In its endeavor to take steps towards the revival of the Silk Road, the Kingdom established the Saudi Silk Road Company, as one of the new economic arms that will contribute to attracting foreign investments.