What Arab Saudi King Actually Seeks in Asia-Pacific

By Eamon J Jawatin | Mar 03, 2017 07:02 AM EST

As a key part of a significant diplomatic offensive to improve its strategic relations, Saudi Arabia has sent both its King and his foreign minister on vital remote excursions recently.

King Salman's month-long trip to Asia, which started Sunday, is the most noticeable part of the offensive. He is traveling together with a 600-in number company to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, China, Japan, and the Maldives before going to the Arab League summit in Jordan toward the end of March. This will be the first visit by a Saudi King to Indonesia since King Faysal in the 1970s and the first time ever by a Saudi King to Japan.

Royals of Saudi are known to regularly take long trips outside of the kingdom. Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, for instance, spent over a month in Algeria last year. However, those trips are private and include minimal public diplomacy. King Salman is traveling as a public role. His entourage will actually develop on the trip to more than 1,500, told CNN.

An implicit objective of such an extensive traveling is to exhibit the ruler's imperativeness and versatility. Salman turned 81 on December 31. Rumors tidbits about his wellbeing are somewhat endemic, particularly about his mental acuity. An incredible agenda will test him, so the court has included long stops along the trek to give a lot of time to rest, such as the Indonesian leg which is 12 days - including a stop in Bali, as reported by Alarabiya.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei are vital Muslim nations. These countries are potential allies in Saudi Arabia's rivalry with its most despised enemy Iran. The Saudis have pursued them to join its Islamic military partnership, which is coordinated against Tehran despite the fact that its official intention is to fight terrorism.

China and Japan are critical markets for Saudi oil, and Iran is a contender for piece of the overall industry now that assents are gone. A host of new agreements can be expected to be announce at each stop in the month.

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