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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) receives US President Joe Biden at Al Salman Palace upon his arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15. Photo: Reuters

Letters | Was Opec+ move Saudi Arabia’s revenge for Biden’s ‘pariah’ threat?

  • Readers discuss the implication of the Opec+ decision to cut oil production, the urgency of avoiding conflict over Taiwan, Russia’s nuclear weapons, and the Crimea bridge attack
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Perhaps US President Joe Biden’s vow during his 2020 election campaign to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state is still ringing in the ears of the Saudi royal family. Not only did the Opec+ coalition of oil-producing countries, led by Saudi Arabia, not pledge to increase oil exports, it decided to decrease production by 2 million barrels.
This comes despite the Biden administration’s efforts to push Saudi Arabia to produce more oil in the wake of supply shortages following the Ukraine war and the resulting Western sanctions on Russian oil. Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July, during which he fist-bumped Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was part of this effort.

The Opec+ decision could thus be seen as a US political and diplomatic failure. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the Biden administration is reviewing various options in response, although he did not specify what these would be. Last week, Biden said there would be “consequences” for US relations with Saudi Arabia. Democrats in Congress have called for the United States to freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Such moves would not be surprising, going by how the US has reacted to nations that acted against its interests.

In the past, the US’ scaremongering worked to bring defiant nations to heel, but now it is not as powerful and influential as it was in all domains previously. So, given the current global anxieties over the supply of oil, it is no wonder Saudi Arabia seems to have taken the opportunity to make a point.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan


Oil prices set to rise after Opec+ group agrees to larger-than-expected production cut

Oil prices set to rise after Opec+ group agrees to larger-than-expected production cut

On Taiwan, peace must be the priority

Wiser minds must constantly remind the generals and politicians in mainland China and Taiwan that it would be unforgivably foolish to sacrifice the prosperous peace enjoyed by Chinese people on both sides of the strait by destroying the wealth-generating engines on the mainland and in Taiwan just to play a bloody game of who gets to boss around the people of Taiwan.

Make no mistake: if war breaks out, the mainland will not escape great damage, destruction and death, as well as condemnation from its trading partners. Brilliant people in Taiwan and on the mainland have worked for many years to create the industries that generate the wealth to support the present high standard of living.

In an amazingly short time, the mainland has been transformed into one of the world’s biggest economic engines and acquired the knowledge to manufacture almost anything people around the world desire. In Taiwan, engineers have become the best in the world at producing advanced semiconductors. Somehow, both sides of the strait have come to the point of possibly squandering their fortunes.

When you step back for a moment and consider that everyone on both sides want the same things – a good life, plenty of food, good healthcare and nice, safe homes – then you realise that a peaceful solution can be found if only the generals and politicians will look for it. It would be a tragedy if hard-earned prosperity is sacrificed by foolish hotheads.

Thomas Cook, Jacksonville, Florida

Russia knows the value of superior weapons

During the Battle of Omdurman in Sudan in 1898, Winston Churchill, who was then aged just 23, saw what a superior weapon could do. Perhaps that is why in 1951 he proposed that the United States should drop nuclear bombs on Russia.

The Americans must have then known that, somewhere by the North Pole, Russia had bombers ready to strike their cities. They focused instead on missiles, just as we did in Russia. Then, we had many German rocket engineers as prisoners of war working on our project.

The Israelis understand that and station troops on the Golan Heights in Syria only to destroy other targets deeper there with their missiles. That is exactly what is happening now between Russia and Ukraine.
We didn’t limit ourselves to building more powerful missiles, but now have a bus-sized nuclear sea drone.
As Alex Lo (“Better Putin in power than an all-out nuclear war”, October 6) observes, a nuclear power’s leader can’t be overthrown by other countries, however powerful they might be. The current nuclear war panic will be over fairly soon.

Mergen Mongush, Moscow

Russia calling bridge attack ‘terrorism’ rings hollow

I refer to the article, “Russia’s Putin calls Crimea bridge attack an ‘act of terrorism’ by Ukraine” ( October 10). I disagree that Ukraine committed terrorism and think Russia should reflect on its own actions.
First, Russia started the war, which it persists in calling a “ special military operation”. Second, attacking a bridge is a way of cutting off an enemy’s supply lines, which is a common war strategy. Let’s not forget that Crimea was part of Ukraine, and Russia annexed it in 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is probably dubbing the Crimea bridge attack an act of terrorism to find a reason to use even more devastating weapons, such as nuclear weapons. A simulation of what would happen if Russia launched a single missile strike against Nato concludes that 90 million people would die within the first few hours of the conflict.

By putting the use of nuclear weapons on the table, Russia is threatening the whole world.

Wong Hoi-shan, Kwai Chung