chapter  4
Sweet and sour
Sino–Saudi crude collaboration and US-crippled hegemony
WithShichor Yitzhak
Pages 17

This chapter explores the role of oil and the interaction of oil and politics in the triangular relations between China, Saudi Arabia and the United States (US). It discusses the growing Sino-Saudi oil partnership and deals with the trilateral perspectives related to the implications of this partnership. Beijing concerns less about US competition for Saudi oil and more about Saudi Arabia's political and economic future. Beijing must be aware of terrorist threats to Saudi energy infrastructure and installations that could disrupt future oil supply. Although the Chinese cannot offer Saudi Arabia military protection or even active diplomatic and political support, like US, they have two advantages over the US and other rivals and competitors in the region. Saudi Arabia should be concerned about its future oil sales to China because of Iraq's emergence as a major oil supplier. The security crisis in Iraq, and doubts about the quality of its crude oil have led to a decline in Chinese imports.