Creating new perspectives since 2009

Report: Major US arms sale deal to UAE at risk over China ties

May 27, 2021 at 11:34 am

A US air force F-22 fighter jet is seen at an event during the Dubai airshow in the United Arab Emirates on 17 November 2019. [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

A multibillion-dollar sale of advanced US weapons to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could be at jeopardy due to Washington’s concern over Abu Dhabi’s growing relations with China, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The paper quoted US officials as saying that American spy agencies have in recent weeks monitored two planes belonging to China’s People’s Liberation Army which landed at an airport in the UAE and unloaded crates of undetermined materials.

The US officials said the “transport flights, along with other signs of nascent security cooperation between Beijing and the UAE” have alarmed American officials and cast fresh uncertainty over the future of the deal.

In April, the US administration of President Joe Biden said that it would move forward with a $23 billion sale of 50 F-35 fighter aircraft, 18 Reaper drones and advanced munitions to the UAE, all approved during former President Donald Trump’s rule.

However, the US official warned that signs of growing ties between Beijing and Abu Dhabi have clouded the sale’s future, explaining that Washington seeks guarantees about the weapons, including that the UAE won’t allow the Chinese or others access to the latest American war-fighting technology.

According to the paper, a US delegation visited the UAE and other countries in the Gulf to discuss these concerns.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gregory Meeks, expressed concern about the deal, but said: “Fortunately, none of these deals will be implemented soon, therefore the Congress will have enough time to find out if it should be implemented, under what conditions and under which restrictions.”

READ: UAE says it is ready to facilitate Israel-Palestinian peace efforts