Saudi Arabia considers Chinese bid to build nuclear plant: Report

President of China Xi Jinping with Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is considering China’s bid to build a nuclear power plant in the Gulf state, international media reported.

Saudi officials familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that China National Nuclear Corporation proposed to Riyadh to build a nuclear plant near the border with Qatar and the UAE.

The move is designed to pressure the US into supporting the kingdom’s quest for nuclear power, according to the report.

It added that unlike the Biden administration, which put conditions on aiding the Saudi nuclear industry, such as a ban to enrich uranium, China is unlikely to present Riyadh with requirements aimed at preventing it from getting nuclear weapons. 

Earlier in June, the two countries announced investment deals worth $10 billion. Chinese President Xi Jinping also pledged to pursue a “pattern of multi-faceted energy cooperation” with Gulf states. 

China, which is the world’s biggest energy consumer, also strengthened its ties with Saudi Arabia by mediating its rapprochement with Iran in March.

Earlier this week, Beijing called for the resumption of the Iranian nuclear deal in light of a “wave of reconciliation” in the Middle East.

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