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From ideological antagonism to 'strategic partnership' Saudi-Chinese relationships (1949-2006)

Aborhmah, Abdulwahab Abdulrahman (2010) From ideological antagonism to 'strategic partnership' Saudi-Chinese relationships (1949-2006). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This study attempts to offer the first full-length account of the major dynamics and factors that contributed to shaping the Saudi-Chinese relationship during the period between (1949-2006). The Riyadh-Beijing relationship offers an unusual example in International Relations field since it has undergone various phases that started by a mutual political enmity and went through an extended process of confidence building with a reciprocal drive to construct a complementary strategic partnership. These phases have been divided throughout this study into eight distinctive periods. This study argues that Sino-Saudi relationships during the 57-year period were subject to the influence of various factors including those of systemic-security, normative ideological and economic complementary nature. It has been argued that the 41-year Saudi-Chinese political rupture was a product of a combination of systemic-security and identity-ideological factors that worked together to prevent Saudi Arabia and China from having diplomatic relations between (1949-1990). It has been, also, argued also that the reforms of 1978 as well as the pragmatisation of China's foreign policy, the improvement of the conditions of Chinese Muslims along with the resumption of Chinese hajj missions, and the indirect Sino-Saudi cooperation in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union and then the arms deal in 1986 have played an important role in normalising Riyadh-Beijing political relationship. It has been emphasised that the emergence of the potential strategic partnership between the two countries was a natural outcome of their economic, political and security complementary relationship that surfaced since the middle 1990s and that such relationship has benefited from the deterioration of US-Saudi relationship in the aftermaths of 9/11. Saudi-Chinese relationship in the 21'' century, it was argued, offers a comprehensive strategic partnership in all fields after two sides have found that what combines them is far more than what divides them and that they could be of much importance for each other in the years to come. This promising relationship would probably enhance China's political and strategic presence and role in the Middle East and might negatively influence the Western traditional predominant position in this important region.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:23

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