Washington is not pushing Saudi Arabia to make a choice between ties with the US or ties with China, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
“We’re not asking anyone to choose between the United States and China,” Blinken told a joint press conference Thursday alongside his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan. “We are simply trying to demonstrate the benefits of our partnership and the affirmative agenda that we bring.”
“The United States remains the number one partner of choice for … most countries in the region,” he added, wrapping up a three-day visit to the kingdom reiterating the strong US-Saudi ties.
The Saudi foreign minister, for his part, affirmed the “robust security partnership with the US,” but also stressed that Riyadh has a strong partnership with China, its “largest trading partner.”
He added that Saudi Arabia is “capable of having multiple partnerships” with different countries.
In March, China successfully mediated between Riyadh and Tehran leading to the resumption of diplomatic ties and reopening embassies, and ending seven years of stranded relations between the two neighbors.
Responding to Blinken’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing “hopes all US diplomatic institutions will fully implement” the US secretary of state’s “promise and hold an open attitude toward other countries’ relations with China.”
Speaking to reporters in the Chinese capital, Wang however urged the US to “stop containing Chinese companies or coercing US allies to give up cooperation with China and to stop spreading disinformation on the ‘debt trap’ related to China,” Chinese daily Global Times reported.