Once termed by Napoleon Bonaparte as the “sleeping giant,” China has now woken up and is living up to his prophecy: “The giant sleeps, and let it, for should it wake the world will shake.” China has now woken up and is shaking the world.
For 500 years China did little. While it was rich in resources it was plundered by the European powers. After the Maoist revolution, it began a process of unification and then focused on production. Many experiments were made including the ill-fated “cultural revolution.” But the Chinese determination for achieving parity on a world scale paid off. In the initial growing process, they were described as the “yellow pencil” and what not, but they persevered. And it was American President Richard Nixon who had to go to China in 1972 to meet Chairman Mao Zedong and establish relations that admitted China to the world stage.
Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations with China in 1990 and from that day onward, economic relations were being cemented. China became an important oil importer. However, the significance of this relation zoomed every year with the Chinese’s capacity to excel in business and industry.
China’s growing influence in the global economic arena, its new applied innovation in all fields, its capacity to tailor science and technology for Asia and Africa, its reforming of the economy from a central command system to a capitalist market and social-oriented one, has become a legend.
Encouraged by a high growth rate the Chinese have begun to play a bigger role on the world stage by enhancing their voice on all platforms be it social, economic or political. Any world economic plans without Chinese inputs would not be possible today. This the Saudi leadership realized. And as it unfolded its Vision 2030, Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, whose aim, vision and goal for an efficient Saudi Arabia dependent on a solid non-oil economic base, decided that economic, social and industrial cooperation should be enhanced with China. And this is probably one of his key positive measures because the Chinese have a lot to offer and with no political strings attached.
Both countries, as viewed during his recent official trip to China preceding the G20 summit, signed several economic agreements beneficial to both sides. Chinese leaders were impressed by the Deputy Crown Prince and realized his determination to make the Kingdom a producer rather than a consumer nation. This Vision 2030, which encompasses the inclusion of all the stakeholders, is a key base for societal development. We cannot afford to let it flounder. The Deputy Crown Prince knows this and is determined that the key factor is the building of long-term economic and political relations with the East and especially China.
Both countries will work together to revitalize the economy and as China’s President Xi Jinping said the G20 will play a crucial role in guiding and promoting inter-nation economic cooperation. Sustainable and balanced growth, inter-nation economic cooperation and combined solutions to face major economic and environmental challenges are key for success.
Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit to China is significant because it is a clear indication that the Kingdom supports the international economic agenda and is ready to play a part to understand its challenges and help provide solutions to promote regional and world growth.