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沙特国王的巡回访问

澳大利亚罗伊国际政策研究所 2017-03-21 09:13
摘要:沙特的外交努力源于其对与美国关系的担忧。在与奥巴马政府八年相对冷淡的关系之后,沙特人显然担心他们美国可能不再像从前那样保护其在中东的安全并予以坚定的支持。而现任总统特朗普似乎也无法向沙特提供一个坚实的基础,使两国重建一种可靠的安全关系。

King Salman’s wild ride

原文标题:King Salman’s wild ride

中文摘要:罗伊研究所专家Ben Rich在《沙特国王的巡回访问》一文中表示,近日,沙特国王萨勒曼开始了长达一月的出访。这十分罕见,沙特国王一般很少进行这样长时间的外交活动。此次访问的目的地包括马来西亚、文莱、印尼和马尔代夫。此外,萨勒曼还将出访中国和日本。沙特有着提振外国能源市场并确保其对海湾石油持续需求的强烈愿望。中国和日本就是沙特石油的第一和第二大客户。中日两国2014年从沙特购买了价值900亿美元的石油。沙特目前正在推行“2030愿景”计划,旨在使沙特经济多元化,解除对石油的依赖,并推动沙特人进入私人就业市场。毫无疑问,沙特的外交努力源于其对与美国关系的担忧。在与奥巴马政府八年相对冷淡的关系之后,沙特人显然担心他们美国可能不再像从前那样保护其在中东的安全并予以坚定的支持。而现任总统特朗普似乎也无法向沙特提供一个坚实的基础,使两国重建一种可靠的安全关系。在这种不确定的环境下,任何国家都自然会花大力气寻求其它选择。(编译:罗婧婧)

原文:

Saudi King Salman’s month-long tour of Asia marks a rare occurrence for Saudi monarchs, who rarely engage in such prolonged diplomatic activities. The arc of the King’s sojourn takes him through a range of regional middle and lesser powers, with stops in Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Maldives. In addition, the monarch is seeking to extend olive branches to two Asian great powers – Japan and China. The tour, while diplomatic in nature, has not been without peril, with reports that the King was the target of a foiled assassination plot in Malaysia by either Houthi or ISIS militants.

Motivations behind the trip are numerous. Naturally, there is the ever-present Saudi desire to shore up foreign energy markets and ensure continuing demand for Gulf oil. China and Japan represent the number one and two customers for Saudi oil respectively, between them generating the Kingdom around $US90 billion in 2014 alone.

The kingdom’s newly articulated Vision 2030 plan, championed by Salman’s 31-year-old son, is aiming to diversity the Saudi economy, move the national budget away from its traditional extreme reliance on oil, as well as push many Saudis out of the bloated public sector and into the private job market. At a more fundamental level, the initiative seeks to rewrite the basic Saudi social contract/ruling bargain, moving away from a rentier model of governance to one based on open and competitive market forces, while somehow maintaining the essential authoritarian rule of the monarchy.

Needless to say, the Vision 2030 initiative is extremely ambitious in its intentions. One example of this bravado is the plan to significantly expand local defense industries to accommodate more than 50% of indigenous defense needs. Currently, local production fulfils just 2% of such requirements and the material produced is known for neither sophistication or high quality.

In order to have a hope of achieving such a dramatic restructure in such a short amount of time, the Saudis will need capital investment and lots of it. In this regard, a key objective of Salman’s charm offensive is to court investors for an economy that has traditionally been closed to most international business and assuage any fears they might have over the uncertainty of such a venture. For such investment, China and Japan represent the most obvious targets for potential patrons, but the smaller regional states may also provide opportunities to attract cash.

In a seemingly paradoxical move, the Kingdom is also seeking to diversify its own investment portfolio. One of the major new impetuses for the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) under Vision 2030 was a growth in international strategic investments. In response, Riyadh is seeking new opportunities for returns abroad, with an eye on the so-called tiger economies and all the potential for growth contained therein. The Saudis cannot ignore Indonesia in particular, which is predicted to be nearing the top 10 of global economies by 2030. In such an environment, the opportunities to deploy the PIF to Saudi benefit seem rife. This is nothing to say of the private and uncounted resources held by the royal family, which has gained considerable notoriety for owning considerable foreign assets globally. Some family members are no doubt looking for new entrepreneurial ventures.

One interesting development on the trail was the suggestion of a large Saudi investment into the Maldives. Although details on the nature of this deal in such a remote part of the world remain extremely scant, it is clear that Riyadh is looking for new opportunities to expand its global reach and influence. Regardless of the details of the deal, it seems the Maldives may represent the first major target of the PIF since its recalibration.

No doubt further motivating the Saudi diplomatic drive are concerns over the status of its relationship with Washington. Coming off eight years of relatively frosty relations with the Obama administrations, the Saudis are undoubtedly worried their long-standing security guarantor in the region may no longer be the steadfast supporter it once was. While President Trump has made some positive noise towards Riyadh - and appears to share the Saudi goals of confronting Iraq Iran and quashing instability in Yemen - the former reality TV star’s temperament and tendency to whimsically alter policy course do not appear to offer a strong foundation upon which to rebuild a dependable security relationship. In such an environment of uncertainty, it would be natural for any state to seek to cultivate other options with great and emerging powers.

责任编辑:罗婧婧