Free / Agencies - Washington
May 08, 2020
A US official said that the Arab Gulf states should take into account their relationship with the United States when dealing with China
The Arab Gulf states have developed close ties with Beijing despite their long-term relations with their main ally the United States, as these countries seek capital and technology to diversify the economies of their economies away from energy revenues.
"These (Gulf) countries should think about the value of their partnership with the United States," said David Schenker, the US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.
"We want our partner countries to do our due diligence," he said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
US President Donald Trump has accused China of responsibility for the Corona Virus pandemic, and his administration is considering taking punitive measures against Beijing over the way it first handled the epidemic while the economic damage was worsening.
A number of officials in the Gulf region praised Beijing's efforts to combat the virus, which first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
China has recently stepped up diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. Beijing is sending medical experts and supplies to countries around the world, including several Gulf countries, Egypt and Israel, to help it fight the disease.
Schenker said countries in the region should be cautious about Chinese aid, which he described as mostly aimed at exploitation.
Schenker added that there are concerns related to the participation of the Chinese company Huawei in building part of the infrastructure of the fifth generation network in the Gulf region that hosts the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy and the largest US military base in the region.
He added that this would make communication between the US and Gulf forces "difficult".
Huawei has long been a target of the US administration, which says Beijing may take advantage of the company. China and Huawei have repeatedly denied the accusation.
The United States is looking to offer alternatives to countries for doing business with China and its companies, but it has acknowledged that it is lagging behind in 5G technology. No American company makes this technology.