Saudi Arabia and China have announced several joint nuclear projects in the kingdom, ostensibly to enable the world’s largest oil exporter to develop a civilian nuclear program or export uranium. Intelligence sources have been careful to formulate assessments regarding the development of weapons of mass destruction since the miscalculation that led to the Iraq war in 2003 and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Saudi Arabia helped Pakistan finance the development of its nuclear weapons in the 1990s, but it is still unknown whether it has access to weapons or technology for its development. Only nine countries in the world have nuclear weapons, one of which is Israel, the only one in the Middle East that does not publicly declare it.
The White House did not appear to be moved by Saudi efforts, given the close ties between Trump and his administration and the Saudi leadership, including defending it after the assassination of journalist Jamal Hashukaji at the consulate in Istanbul about two years ago. This is even when Washington repeatedly warns that it will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons or is fighting China on a number of fronts, including around the outbreak of the Corona virus and Hong Kong National Security Act.
The National Security Council and the CIA declined to comment on the New York Times publication. The Saudi embassy in Washington did not respond to questions.