Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called groundless publications in the media that cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in the field of atomic energy would enable Riyadh to develop nuclear weapons. As the diplomat noted on Friday, August 7, at a regular briefing, China strictly fulfills its obligations in the field of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“These statements are unfounded. China and Saudi Arabia maintain a comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperation. Over the past few years, our ties have been developing steadily. Cooperation between the two countries in all areas is successful and fruitful,” he said in response to a question. TASS quoted Wang Wenbin as saying.
According to the diplomat, “China and Saudi Arabia maintain conventional cooperation in the energy sector.” “China has always adhered to a responsible position in promoting the global peaceful use of nuclear energy and research in this area,” the ministry official said. “We intend to strictly fulfill our international obligations in the field of nuclear nonproliferation, and we will conduct interaction with other countries in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy. This will allow us to contribute to the stable development of the world. “
A few days ago, the American edition The Wall Street Journal citing well-informed Western sources, reported that Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in developing a nuclear program, which may also be of a military nature. According to the publication, with the help of China in the area of the city of al-Ula, located in a remote desert area, an enterprise has been erected for the production of the so-called “yellow pie” – uranium oxide, which can be used to create atomic fuel and nuclear weapons.
Saudi Arabia does not recognize the existence of this facility. She also refutes reports about the construction of a uranium mine. At the same time, the official Riyadh admits that it cooperates with Beijing in the atomic field, and Prince Muhammad bin Salman stated that if Iran becomes the owner of nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia will create its own bomb.
Cooperation with China is also a sign of the military nature of the program. Earlier, the US administration told Saudi Arabia that it would not be able to gain access to nuclear technology if it could not guarantee the peaceful nature of the development.
Riyadh and Beijing also cooperate in the missile sector. Satellite photographs taken in November 2018 by Planet Labs show that the kingdom is building its first ballistic missile facility. Presumably, these missiles will also be able to carry nuclear warheads.
American expert Michael Rubin noted that the Saudi leadership realized that it could not fully rely on its American allies. “The arms race is underway and the Saudis are demonstrating that they can take care of themselves,” he said.
The kingdom’s air force is equipped with American aircraft, and if their use would be contrary to US interests, Saudi Arabia could be subject to sanctions. The rocket program provides a way out of this impasse.