Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

China, Saudi Arabia eye $65b in deals as king visits

China, Saudi Arabia eye $65b in deals as king visits

Saudi Arabia is the top exporter of crude oil while China is the world's biggest importer. The three-day Chinese stop reciprocates Xi's visit to Riyadh a year ago to shore up China's sphere of influence in the middle east.

China's Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said that President Xi Jinping and King Salman inked a total 14 cooperation agreements, including a memorandum of understanding on 35 projects for "production capacity and investment cooperation".

China's state-owned Sinopec Group and Saudi Basic Industries Corp signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Beijing on Thursday to look into opportunities for cooperation in both countries, Sinopec said on its website.

Meanwhile, state-run Saudi Aramco has signed MOUs with five Japanese entities during a business forum held yesterday, coinciding with a visit by Saudi Arabia's King Salman this week.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the Saudi king his visit showed the importance he attached to relations with China.

Chinese navy vessels also visited the Saudi port of Jeddah as part of increasingly active maneuvers in the Gulf of Aden. Xi visited both Saudi Arabia and Iran in January past year.

China and Saudi Arabia established their diplomatic ties in 1990, the relationship deepened even more in 2016, when President Xi made a historic visit to the country in January.

Aramco said the MOU was for the development of refinery and chemical facilities.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz was scheduled to visit Maldives tomorrow as a last destination of his month-long Asia tour.

According to an unnamed diplomat from a Muslim-majority country, China was trying to play the role of "honest broker" in the Middle East, as it lacks the historical baggage of the Americans or the Europeans.

"For a long time, China and Islamic countries have respected each other and had win-win cooperation, and have created a model of the peaceful coexistence of different cultures", Xi said, according to China's foreign ministry.

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