What Happened: Pakistan's government has announced that Saudi Arabia will not join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, just days after saying the kingdom would be a strategic partner in the project, Dawn reported Oct. 3.
Why It Matters: Pakistan's invitation for Saudi Arabia to join the CPEC was reportedly presented without first consulting China. The reason for this move is unknown, but it suggests that Pakistan's new government wants to diversify its financing options to reduce dependence on China. And while the decision has derailed third-party involvement for now, Beijing may be open to such a plan after bilateral consultations with Islamabad.
Background: A Pakistani official announced in late September that Saudi Arabia had agreed to join the CPEC with a $10 billion investment. Imran Khan took power as prime minister in August, and his administration is still attempting to forumulate a clear messaging strategy on important issues, including CPEC.
- Pakistan Trudges Along a Familiar Economic Path (Sept. 21, 2018)
- Pakistan: What Does a Loan From China Mean for the Already Indebted Country? (Aug. 14, 2018)
- China's Belt and Road Initiative, Five Years In (June 22, 2018)