Jakarta, CNNI Indonesia —
Some observers said the arms purchase was larger than in previous arms deals between the two countries.
The arms trade between China and Saudi Arabia itself began in the late 1980s after the two countries held their first official meeting in 1985. Since then, specifically in 1990, China-Saudi Arabia relations have officially established.
In general, the weapons the Saudis buy from China are drones or drones.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the first weapon the Saudis bought from China was the DF-3 nuclear missile in 1986. The Saudis bought 50 DF-3 missiles along with their conventional warheads.
In 2007, Riyadh again bought weapons from China, namely 54 PLZ-54 self-propelled artillery. Then, in 2014, Saudi Arabia purchased another five CH-4B drones and more than 30 Wing Loong-1 and 2-type drones during 2014-2017.
At the Zhuhai Air Show, the Saudis again bought Chinese-made weapons. The kingdom bought the TB001 combat drone that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is using to patrol near Taiwan this year.
The Kingdom also purchased the YJ-21 anti-ship ballistic missile which has a range of over 2,000 km, as well as the Silent Hunter anti-drone laser system.
It’s not just those weapons that the Saudis are buying. Secretly, Riyadh has also purchased the DF-21 missile, a missile which is said to be more accurate than the DF-3 and is often dubbed the “carrier killer”.
The close relationship between China and Saudi Arabia is not only manifested through the buying and selling of weapons, but also through assistance in developing weapons.
US intelligence this year reported that China was helping Riyadh develop its own ballistic missiles.
The China-Saudi relationship is different from the US-Saudi relationship. Washington and Riyadh are known to have begun to drift apart after the United States released a report on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 that dragged down the name of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). The move also comes after the recent OPEC+ oil dispute that cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day.
Though subdued, the Saudis still continue to purchase arms from the United States. Because Washington has always been Riyadh’s largest arms supplier.
However, after Yemen’s war against the Houthis in 2015, the United States began restricting arms sales to the Saudis.