Global Affairs

The Middle Kingdom's desert adventures in the Middle East

Recent reports of Chinese involvement in a uranium processing facility in Saudi Arabia have raised questions about the kingdom's nuclear intentions - and cast the spotlight on China's Middle East policy

LONDON • Al-Ula is not exactly the best place to be at this time of the year.

Although this small settlement of about 5,000 people in the north-western tip of Saudi Arabia boasts a World Heritage Site and has plenty of tourism potential since it sat on the network of routes transporting spices between India and Europe for well over a millennium, it is usually enveloped in gloomy, grey desert clouds and an oppressive, sweltering heat in August.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2020, with the headline 'The Middle Kingdom's desert adventures in the Middle East'. Print Edition | Subscribe