Saudi Arabia Considers Chinese Nuclear Plant Bid Amid US Stipulations

Saudi Arabia Considers Chinese Nuclear Plant Bid Amid US Stipulations

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Saudi Arabia is contemplating a Chinese proposal to construct a nuclear power plant within the kingdom due to frustrations with the United States' conditions for supporting the kingdom's nuclear ambitions, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), a state-owned entity, has suggested building a nuclear facility near the border with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to unnamed Saudi officials cited by the newspaper.

Saudi officials anticipate that the Chinese bid may compel the administration of US President Joe Biden to relax its requirements for assisting Saudi Arabia's emerging nuclear industry. These requirements include commitments not to engage in uranium enrichment or mining uranium deposits, as detailed by the newspaper.

It is unlikely that China would impose such conditions on Riyadh, as they are primarily aimed at preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the newspaper noted.

Requests for comments from CNNC and the foreign ministries of China and Saudi Arabia have not been immediately answered, according to Reuters.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia and China have strengthened their ties, causing concern in Washington. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia in December, and the two nations announced $10 billion worth of investment deals during the Arab-China business summit in Riyadh in June.

Xi has pledged to pursue a "pattern of multi-faceted energy cooperation" with Persian Gulf countries. China has also been keen on exporting its nuclear energy industry overseas and has sought to establish numerous nuclear reactors internationally through its "Belt and Road" infrastructure initiative.

Additionally, Beijing has increased its diplomatic presence in the region, playing a role in normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran earlier this year after years of hostilities.

Saudi Arabia, a significant oil producer, has been exploring the development of a domestic nuclear energy sector to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Currently, the kingdom meets nearly all of its power requirements from oil and natural gas, as per the US Energy Information Administration.


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