This month’s visit of China’s President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia and the attendant fanfare predictably unleashed a torrent of comparisons to the much more low-key July visit of US President Joe Biden (MEES, 15 July). But conjecture that Saudi Arabia is looking to move on from its decades-long relationship with the US is wide of the mark.

Undeniably, relations between the kingdom’s leadership and the current US administration are at a low ebb. But cooperation between the two countries remains strong at many levels and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. In rolling out the red carpet for President Xi, Saudi Arabia is affirming the importance that it places in the relationship with China alongside its relations with the US. Not instead of the US. (CONTINUED - 861 WORDS)