That reception would be unthinkable in the US or Europe, where bin Salman’s reputation has been severely damaged following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. Bin Salman has denied any connection to the killing.
In the wake of that scandal, the young prince badly needed some good PR — and so he headed East.
It was a smart move.
China is already Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner, and across Asia this week political, religious and ideological differences proved no barrier to doing business. No leader mentioned Khashoggi.
That was a transactional approach that Saudi was happy to reciprocate.