In a move that is sure to have geopolitical ramifications, Saudi Arabia has agreed to become a dialogue partner with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). This marks a significant shift in Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and its relations with China, Russia and the other member states of the SCO.
The SCO is a regional intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 2001. It comprises eight member states, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India and Pakistan. The SCO’s primary objectives are to promote regional security, economic cooperation and cultural exchange.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to join the SCO as a dialogue partner is significant for several reasons. Firstly, it marks a shift in the kingdom’s foreign policy away from its traditional allies in the West, particularly the United States. This move can be seen as a response to the changing global geopolitical landscape, with the rise of China and the relative decline of the US.
Secondly, it provides Saudi Arabia with an opportunity to deepen its economic ties with China and the other member states of the SCO. The SCO has a combined population of over 3 billion people and a GDP of over $17 trillion, making it one of the largest economic blocs in the world. By becoming a dialogue partner, Saudi Arabia will be able to participate in discussions on economic cooperation and trade, which could lead to increased investment and business opportunities for the kingdom.
Thirdly, it provides Saudi Arabia with an opportunity to play a more prominent role in regional security. The SCO has a mandate to promote regional security and stability, particularly in Central Asia. By joining the organisation, Saudi Arabia will be able to participate in discussions on regional security issues and potentially contribute to peacekeeping efforts in the region.
However, Saudi Arabia’s decision to join the SCO is not without risks. The organisation has been criticised by some as a tool of Chinese and Russian foreign policy, aimed at promoting their own interests in the region. There are also concerns that Saudi Arabia’s alliance with the SCO could strain its relationship with the US and other Western allies.
Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia’s decision to join the SCO is a significant development in the country’s foreign policy. It reflects the changing geopolitical landscape and the kingdom’s desire to play a more active role in regional affairs. It remains to be seen how this move will play out in the coming years, but it is clear that Saudi Arabia’s relationship with China and the other member states of the SCO will be an important factor in the country’s future.