The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is a Central Asian security bloc led by China and Russia that is often described as a future Eastern counterweight to NATO. It held its annual summit last week in Kazakhstan, and the most significant outcome was the announcement that India and Pakistan became its first new members since being formed in 2001. The evolution of the SCO looks set to continue, with Iranian membership gaining momentum and Turkey’s an increasing possibility.
If this initial expansion of the SCO into the Middle East happens, it is likely to spark interest among Arab states to apply as well.… Seguir leyendo »
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz began a month-long trip to Asia last week that has taken him to Malaysia and Indonesia, with stops in Japan, China and the Maldives to follow. Coming after high-level visits between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Chinese government officials, the king’s trip is a further indication of the deepening of relations between Arab Gulf monarchies and East Asia. While trade is an important focus for the Saudi delegation, Asia’s growing role in Gulf security is going to be a major feature of the trip.
China and Saudi Arabia’s new military cooperation
The China-Saudi security relationship was emphasized during a visit to China by Deputy Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman in August, when Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said, “China is willing to push military relations with Saudi Arabia to a new level.” This took shape two months later, with the 15-day joint military exercise in Chengdu, where Saudi Special Forces and their Chinese counterparts trained together in anti-terrorism drills, hostage situations, extreme weather and relationship building at the nonelite level.… Seguir leyendo »