Yesterday, Kuwait Crown prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad arrived in China for an official visit to attend the Asian Games Opening Ceremony. However, according to Kuwait government sources, who reported to local Kuwait media, the visit will also include bilateral agreements mean to finalize joint Kuwait-Chinese ownership and operation of the Mubarak Port.
These agreements are said to involve the finalization of employee housing in Sabriya and a solar energy project in Al-Shaqaya which will completely power the housing “city”.
Mubarak is a central pillar of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Under BRI, the Mubarak is part of the first phase of the Silk City project, which is a multi-phased mega-infrastructure project in Northern Kuwait. The port is a key pillar of Kuwait Vision 2035. Mubarak Al Kabeer Port will be partially licensed for maritime traffic in October and as of this publication tenders have been issued for port operations.
The Mubarak port has been the source of contention with Iraq due to its proximity to another major Iraqi port and probable competition.
Once this port is operational, the People’s Republic of China will have significant access to international shipping in the Northern Persian Gulf where the United States has significantly reduced its presence since winding down operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the United States still have significant pull in the Southern Person Gulf, this agreement will surely cements China’s influence in the oil-rich region.