Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict
COLOGNY - The rise of China will be a source of global stability not conflict, major oil supplier Saudi Arabia said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.
"As China gets integrated into the world, and into the world financial and economic systems, it has a tremendous interest in stability of those systems," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said.
"And so I think the rise of China should be one that is welcomed, not one that is viewed as a source of a threat," he told a discussion in the Swiss resort, where 3,000 members of the political and business elite gathered for annual talks.
Asia is the number one market region for Saudi Arabian oil.
Jubeir's comments came after China's President Xi Jinping warned, also at Davos, against scapegoating globalisation for the world's ills or retreating behind protectionist walls.
US President-elect Donald Trump has blamed China and globalisation for the loss of millions of American factory jobs.
Washington is a longstanding ally of Saudi Arabia but ties were strained under President Barack Obama, who hands power to Trump on Friday.
Riyadh felt Obama was reluctant to get involved in the civil war in Syria and other regional conflicts while tilting towards Saudi Arabia's rival Iran.
Jubeir said he expects the Trump administration to be more engaged in the Middle East, and the world in general, while "rebuilding" relationships with allies.
"I think the change will happen," the Saudi minister said.
Among Saudi concerns has been the regional role of Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is backed by Iran.
"Our concern is that Lebanon not be a source of danger to us, mainly Hezbollah," Jubeir said.
But the election in November of Lebanon's President Michel Aoun, who was backed by Hezbollah, will contribute to a "healing process" in Lebanon, Jubeir said.
"He has acted as a statesman as soon as he was elected" and last week visited Riyadh as his first foreign stop, the Saudi minister said.