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Iran's exports to these four Asian countries originally stood at around 2.5 million bpd in 2011, but have dipped to around one million bpd since the implementation of the tougher sanctions in 2012.
Washington's announcement of these sanctions at the end of 2011 was immediately followed by the visits of Asian leaders to Riyadh in early 2012: Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba (January), Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (January), and Korean President Lee Myung-bak (February).
MMD is the strategy of seeking diverse diplomatic relations with major powers in order to increase a state's level of autonomy vis-à-vis the hegemon (the United States).
In June, Deputy Crown Prince/Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, a son of the king, visited Moscow to sign multiple bilateral cooperation agreements on subjects ranging from oil and the military to nuclear power and space exploration.
Just as energy security is integral to the national security of oil-importing states, for Saudi Arabia safeguarding demand for its oil ("demand security") is integral to its national and, more specifically, regime security.Today, the kingdom's major diplomatic partners exist not only in the West, but in the East as well.In February and March 2014, Salman (then-crown prince and defense minister) visited Japan, India and China.However, the West-East balance in Saudi Arabia's oil exports tipped toward the latter in the early 2000s due to European states' successful diversification of their sources of oil imports in the final quarter of the previous century — away from the Gulf to other regions such as the North Sea, the former Soviet Union and North Africa — and the simultaneous increase in the demand for oil in the growing Asian economies.Although in 2013, the United States remained the largest importer of Saudi oil at 1.5 million bpd (19 percent of the total), four major Asian economies combined imported 4.0 million bpd (51 percent): Japan, 1.2 million bpd (15 percent); China, 1.1 million bpd (14 percent); South Korea, 0.9 million bpd (11 percent); and India, 0.8 million bpd (10 percent).