DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar is balancing its relationships with both the United States and China and one link does not damage the other, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Friday.
China’s growing influence in the Gulf has unnerved the United States – an issue that came into focus this week as Saudi Arabia and the UAE signed up to join Beijing in the BRICS group of states.
The prime minister, speaking at a lecture in Singapore, was responding to a question about how his country was managing its relationship with both global powers.
He dismissed another suggestion from the audience that growing Chinese defence sales to the Middle East could impact the region’s security ties with Washington.
“We welcome any cooperation with any of the countries, but none of our relations with any specific country will be at the expense of another,” he said, adding that his country had a strong defence alliance with Washington.
(Reporting by Clauda Tanios and Maha El Dahan; editing by Jason Neely and Andrew Heavens)