China eyes massive arms deals with Saudi Arabia, Egypt; aims to snatch US market
In a significant step towards its goal of barging into weapons markets hitherto ruled by the US, China is reportedly undergoing negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt for massive arms deals
After decades of challenging the United States (US) in the Indo-Pacific region, China is now aiming to gobble up the international arms market of the world’s ‘sole superpower’.
In a significant step towards its goal of barging into weapons markets hitherto ruled by the US, China is reportedly undergoing negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt for massive arms deals.
The development comes even as Saudi Arabia and Egypt look to diversify their sources of weapons and defence equipment and tone down their dependence on the United States (US) and Russia – their traditional main arms suppliers – specially in the backdrop of the Ukraine war.
The Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and China’s North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco), a Chinese state-owned defence company, are currently in negotiations to buy weapons ranging from air defence systems to reconnaissance drones, according to ‘Tactical Report,’ a Middle East-focused intelligence service based in Beirut.
The Sky Saker FX80 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the CR500 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV, the Cruise Dragon 5 and 10 loitering munitions, also known as suicide drones and the HQ-17AE short-range air defense (SHORAD) system are some of the weapons that may become part of the potential deal.
The Golden Eagle CR500 VTOL UAV, in particular has evoked much interest among the armed forces of Saudi Arabia for their role against Russia during the ongoing Ukraine war.
China has established itself as a major player in the West Asia region in recent. It has managed to broker a historic deal by persuading Saudi Arabia and Iran to forget their rivalry and shake hands across the acrimonious Shia-Sunni divide.
If the weapons deal with Saudi Arabia and Egypt goes through, it will be another achievement by China in a region which, until very recently, was firmly within the US sphere of influence.
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