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Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince's Tour tells the West: You can avoid me, but I'm not alone

In China, he was able to pose a photo of President Xi Jinping, one of the most powerful leaders in the world.

This technique would have been unthinkable in the United States or Europe, where Bein Salman's reputation was seriously damaged after the murder of a Washington Post journalist, Jamal Hashoggi, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year. Bean Salman denied any killing.

After this scandal, the young prince needed a good PR – and so he went east.

This was a reasonable step.

China is already the largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia, and through Asia this week, political, religious and ideological differences did not hinder business. No leader mentioned Hashoggi.

This was a transactional approach with which Saudi Arabia was happy to answer.

  Billboards show portraits of Saudi Arabian prince Mohammed bin Salman and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan before his arrival in Islamabad on February 1[ads1]5, 2019

19659006] In Beijing, the crown prince of the kingdom, containing the most holy place in Islam, did not challenge China's claims of Muslim persecution in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. In India, he has allocated $ 100 billion of potential deals with a country where attacks on Muslim minorities have become a major issue on the eve of national elections this year.

During a week in three countries, Ben Salman signed billions of trade deals.

A short, scheduled journey

When the father of Bin Salman, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, visited Asia two years ago, he went through a completely different route across the region, stopping in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan and

His The son made a much shorter trip by missing out strong trading allies, such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Jonathan Fulton, a professor of Sino-eastern relations at Zaid University in Abu Dhabi, believes that Bean Salman's short journey was a thorough calculation of where the best reception of his charm is.

"Pakistan historically was very important for Saudi Arabia," says Fulton, "especially after Imran Khan became prime minister." , nicknamed "Davos in the desert". Khan was one of the few leaders of the states that were present, and was ready to have his photo taken with Ben Salman. Soon, Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan $ 6 billion to alleviate its economic problems by consolidating friendship.

India and China, meanwhile, are long-standing partners who have the added benefit of being able to provide Saudi Arabia with the necessary foreign investment and technological expertise, as it faces a Western cold.
"Relations between India and Saudi Arabia in our DNA." Indians (have been) part of the construction of Saudi Arabia for 70 years, "the Prince said in New Delhi last week. Almost three million Indians live in Saudi Arabia, making it an important source of work.
China is also Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, last year importing 46 billion dollars from the kingdom, which he relied heavily on oil.
Two countries also have "a lot of synergies," says Fulton. Si is trying to advance its "Belt and Road" initiative, according to which a large number of Chinese trade will pass through the Red Sea, which borders Saudi Arabia on its way to Europe. The Prince wants to promote his own Vision 2030 economic plan, which benefits from Chinese investment and technology transfer.

"Ben Salman was very generous throughout the trip," says Fulton. "For people who look home who have only heard negative stories for a while, here are the countries that are very important for Saudi Arabia who are well received.

  Saudi prince Mohammad bin Salman, left, with Chinese President Xi Jinping in front of them a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.


Bean Salman began his daring plan Vision 2030, aimed at excommunication of his country from economic dependence on oil in 2016. [twoyearslateritisstillthefoundationofsaudiIowaEconomics-asshownbythedealhemadethisweekinAsia

Anush Ehtekishami, professor of international relations at Durham University, says: "Saudi Arabia's life remains energy." Adding that oil prices sent a kingdom economy to a "relative decline."

In Pakistan, the Crown Prince signed preliminary agreements on $ 20 billion in investments, which included $ 10 billion deals for the creation of a petroleum refinery, the natural sea coast city of Gvadar. This port is a key part of the $ 46 billion Sino-Pakistani economic corridor that further intertwines the interests of Saudi Arabia and China
  Port Guadra is a key part of China's investment in Pakistan.
At the next stop, the prince said that he had seen $ 100 billion in investment opportunities over the next two years in India, and signed an agreement on energy, as well as tourism, housing and broadcasting.

The agreements were good for the construction of diplomatic relations, but did not represent investment in Saudi Arabia.

"There is a lot of hunger for the reforms that Salman speaks of (at home)," says Fulton. "But at the same time, 2030 requires a lot of foreign direct investment."

  Saudi Arabia seeks support for Asia for its economic transformation
"When you block your country's billionaires in the Ritz Carlton, it's not so" to assure foreign capital that their investments will be safe, "he adds, referring to the arrest of high-ranking Saudi royal families at a prime hotel in Riyadh for alleged corruption in 2017.

With the government of Ben Salman now funded by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia fighting in the civil war in Yemen, Yextashi says that "this is not a country that would work financially."

Chinese investments

Bean Salman did not receive the greetings of the same hero in Beijing that he made in Pakistan or India. In addition, a few days before the arrival of the Crown Prince, Beijing announced that it wants to build a "strategic trust" with the Saudi Saudi Army's opponent. It was in Beijing that he was looking for investment.

On Thursday, after meeting with the CZ, the Crown Prince signed a number of agreements in the fields of politics, navigation, energy and, most importantly, both countries agreed to further spread their bands and roads and projects of Vision 2030. [19659003] Bean Salman also signed a petroleum refinery for 10 billion dollars.

  Saudi prince Mohammad Bean Salman with the Ambassador of China to Saudi Arabia, Li Huasmin, on the Great Wall of China, in February 2019. Great Wall of China, in February 2019.

Both leaders refrained from criticizing another.

X remained calm in the case of Hashoggi, and Ben Salman escaped the pressure on Beijing to relate to his Muslim minorities. Instead, he backed China's counterterrorism efforts.

"We respect and support the right of China to take measures to combat terrorism and de-extremism to ensure national security. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with China," said bin Salman, the state agency Global Times reports.

"Saudi Arabia has its own problem with extreme Islamist groups, so while China continues to say that its Xinjiang (camps) is the answer to the split and terrorism … it gives them," says Fulton.

The work of Bean Salman, however, was overshadowed by the $ 65 billion in trade deals that his father signed with Beijing two years ago. it means that the visit to Asia was a victory for Saudi Arabia, regardless of how much investment he brought home.

"His signal was to the West, you can avoid me, but I am not alone."

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