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Xi Jinping hailed a ‘new era’ of China’s ties with Saudi Arabia as key deal sealed



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Chinese President Xi Jinping ushered in a “new era” in Beijing’s ties with Saudi Arabia when he met Arab leaders at a “milestone” summit on his strategic Middle East tour, he said in a statement in a show of strength with the Gulf nation’s ruler. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Beijing and Riyadh on Friday reiterated their commitment to global oil markets and a policy of non-interference in domestic affairs, on the second day of the Chinese president’s high-level three-day visit.

“The People’s Republic of China welcomes the Kingdom’s role as a supporter of balance and stability in the global oil market and as a reliable main exporter of crude oil to China,” a joint statement by Saudi state media said.

The two countries “exchanged views on ways to strengthen and develop the comprehensive strategic partnership between the Kingdom and China,” the statement added.

Mr Xi said his visit to the Gulf nation marked the beginning of a “new era” in relations. He is expected to meet with other Gulf oil producers on Friday and attend a broader summit with Arab League nations.

“China looks forward to working with Saudi Arabia and the Arab states to turn the two summits into milestone events in the history of Sino-Arab relations and the history of China-Gulf Cooperation Council relations, and to take these relations to new heights,” the Chinese foreign ministry was quoted as saying. Mr. Xi says.

The GCC, in a statement on Friday, reiterated support for the OPEC+ decision to stabilize the oil market.

Washington is closely monitoring the Chinese leader’s visit to the state, revealing the growing influence of its economic rival in the region.

The Chinese president will meet with the Emir of Qatar, the Crown Prince of Kuwait and the presidents of Egypt, Tunisia, Djibouti, Somalia and Mauritania, as well as the leaders and prime ministers of Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Lebanon.

Mr Xi has already held bilateral talks with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal al-Sabah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Iraqi Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani, Sudanese leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, on a state visit to Saudi Arabia, attends a welcoming ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Royal Palace on December 8, 2022 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

(AP)

In a significant breakthrough for both countries, Chinese and Saudi companies have already signed 34 agreements to invest in green energy, information technology, cloud services, transportation, construction and other sectors, state news agency SPA reported.

The initial deal between the two is expected to be worth $30 billion. No country has guaranteed public financial investment in trade agreements.

In the last two days of Mr. Xi’s visit, the Chinese delegation will sign agreements and memorandums of understanding with a number of countries besides Saudi Arabia. It comes a day after Chinese tech giant Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding with the kingdom to build a cloud computing and hi-tech complex in the Saudi city.

The statement issued on Friday also referred to Saudi Arabia’s position as a regional hub for Chinese companies to produce and export energy sector products.

It suggested the possibility of joint investment in energy projects in the region and in “energy consuming countries in Europe and Africa”.

The third day of Mr. Xi’s visit is expected to be a major turnout and discussion with leaders of Arab League states lined up in the Middle East for a broader Arab summit in the Gulf, the Levant and Africa.

Saudi Arabia gave Mr Xi a grand welcome, as his carriage was escorted by members of the Saudi Royal Guard on Arabian horses to the royal palace in Riyadh, in stark contrast to the general welcome Joe Biden received when he visited the Gulf nation. In July this year.



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