Does Saudi Arabia Have Secret Nuclear Weapons Program? Is China Helping it?

Saudi Arabia is now advancing to master nuclear technology with the help of China and this raises several security concerns.

A recent shocking investigation report claims that Saudi Arabia has reportedly constructed a facility for extracting Uranium yellowcake from Uranium core with the help of China. "The facility, which hasn't been publicly disclosed, is in a sparsely populated area in Saudi Arabia's northwest and has raised concern among the U.S. and allied officials that the kingdom's nascent nuclear program is moving ahead and that Riyadh is keeping open the option of developing nuclear weapons," writes The Wall Street Journal.
How Mohammed bin Salman is revolutionizing Saudi Arabia

It was also reported that The China National Nuclear Corp. and the China Nuclear Engineering Group Corp., signed a memorandum of understating with the Saudi Government in 2017 to explore the possibilities of Uranium exploration. As per a report by The Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia is now advancing to master nuclear technology with the help of China and this raises several security concerns.

The reports of China helping Saudi Arabia with nuclear technology comes right when the Donald Trump administration is going head-to-head with the Chinese government from numerous fronts. President Trump has openly blamed China for the spread of Coronavirus. In addition to this, the president has also put a ban on TikTok.

Saudi Arabia's Nuclear Program

From several official reports, Saudi Arabia always maintained that it has been an opponent of nuclear energy. To show its seriousness, the country has even signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Saudi Arabia is also a member of the coalition of countries demanding a Nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.

There have been reports in the past that Saudi Arabia reportedly intends to buy nuclear weapons from an outside source, possibly a country that can deliver nuclear weapons. Even a strategy report suggested in the early 2000s that the Saudi government has a couple of possible options when it comes to having its own Nuclear Program — they can either acquire a nuclear deterrent or an ally with a country that can protect the Middle East nation.

Saudi Arabia Nuclear Power Plant
Saudi Arabia's plant Jonathan Cheng/Twitter

Back in May 2020, leaked images revealed that Saudi Arabia has reportedly started the construction of its very first research reactor at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Following the Wall Street Journal report, American officials have stated that Saudi Arabia's efforts are still in a very early stage. The experts in this field further weigh-in that even if Riyadh has any plans to pursue a nuclear program that will strengthen its military, then also it will take them several years before it could have a single nuclear warhead.