On assessments of China-Saudi cooperation in nuclear technology
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- The need to contain Iran’s influence in the region and a decrease in confidence in the United States as a guarantor of security against the "Iranian threat" are pushing Saudi Arabia to develop its own military nuclear technologies in cooperation with China.
This trend is evidenced by the recent report of the American intelligence, published in the world authoritative publications, which marks the beginning of construction in the north-west of Saudi Arabia "secret facility" for processing uranium concentrate.
Washington is concerned about the fact that the plant will produce uranium oxide, which can be used to produce nuclear weapons. These fears are also confirmed by the fact that earlier Crown Prince M. Salman has repeatedly threatened, which does not exclude the possibility of following Iran in the event that the Iranian side receives nuclear weapons.
At the same time, experts explain the choice by Riyadh of Beijing as a partner in order to develop its own dual-use nuclear program for the following reasons.
First, the US ‘unfavorable’ attitude to Saudi Arabia’s plans to obtain its nuclear potential is forcing the Saudi side to strengthen cooperation in this area with China. At the same time, Riyadh is sending a "signal" to its key partner that its reluctance to interact in the nuclear sphere can get by with the strengthening of the Chinese presence in the Kingdom.
Second, Saudi Arabia regards China’s involvement in its nuclear program as a factor capable of restraining the tendency of strengthening the Sino-Iranian alliance, which allows Tehran to lead the country out of international isolation.
In general, Saudi Arabia realizes the unreliability of the "American security umbrella" and the inexpediency of relying on the United States in full in the confrontation with Iran. In this vein, the development of its nuclear program will enable Riyadh to strengthen its own containment potential for Iran and, thereby, will allow it to insure itself in the event of deep transformations in American regional policy to the detriment of its interests.
China is trying to take advantage of this intention of Saudi Arabia authorities, which wants to end US domination in the Middle East, maintaining balanced relations with all key regional players.