News from the Arab Press

Saudi Arabia and the Asian growl

March 8, 2017

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Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 6

In Jakarta, as in Kuala Lumpur, the visiting journalist can clearly hear the loud Asian growls. This is the roar of people who are unhappy with their situation, who are longing a better future, and who want to break out of poverty and misery. Hundreds of millions of people live in both Indonesia and Malaysia. They have witnessed other Asian giants – China, India, Japan – break through poverty and establish strong economies. They, too, want economic growth and cooperation with regional partners. One of the first to recognize this craving is Saudi Arabia. Last week, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, together with over 500 government and business officials, embarked on a month-long visit to the region: stopping in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China, and a few other nations. The King has a strategic vision for Saudi Arabia. He is looking eastward with the hope to leverage these relations and establish new economic and military ties. Saudi Arabia has learned, through the Iranian nuclear deal and the rise of a suspicious American president, that it must expand its partnerships in new ways. For Saudi Arabia, the leader of the Muslim world, it seems only normal to enhance its ties with two of the largest Muslim nations in Asia. Together, they can promote new initiatives in the fields of energy, security and defense, and trade. King Salman is determined to overhaul the Kingdom’s economy, making Asia-Pacific a prime destination for Saudi Arabia’s new investments. – Ghassan Sharbil

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