China's Xi on 'epoch-making' visit to Saudi Arabia

The Chinese delegation is expected to sign deals worth $30 billion with Riyadh, Saudi state media had said



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

By Reuters

Published: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 10:20 AM

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on a visit that Beijing hailed as its biggest diplomatic initiative in the Arab world.

China — one of the world’s biggest energy consumers — is a major trade partner of Gulf oil and gas producers. Bilateral ties have expanded under the region’s economic diversification push.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that Riyadh would remain a “trusted and reliable” energy partner for Beijing, and that the two countries would boost cooperation in energy supply chains by establishing a regional centre for Chinese factories, in the Kingdom.

The Chinese delegation is expected to sign deals worth $30 billion with Riyadh, Saudi state media had said.

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Xi was met on arrival by the governor of Riyadh, the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister and the governor of the sovereign wealth fund PIF. The Saudi cabinet was meeting on Wednesday to approve the 2023 state budget of the world’s top oil exporter.

The Chinese premier will hold bilateral talks with Saudi Arabia, following which Riyadh will later host a wider meeting with Gulf Arab states and a summit with Arab leaders which will be “an epoch-making milestone in the history of the development of China-Arab relations”, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

Beijing hopes it will make a strong statement on strengthening “unity and cooperation”, Mao added.

Saudi officials have said that regional security would be on the agenda during Xi’s visit.

Riyadh has said it would continue to expand partnerships to serve economic and security interests.


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