Saudi-Chinese ties get a fillip with King’s historic visit

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman being received at Beijing International Airport on Wednesday. — SPA

Beijing — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in China on Wednesday on an official visit.

The King was received at Beijing International Airport by State Councilor Yang Jiechi. A girl presented a bouquet of roses to the King.

King Salman will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders.

During the King’s stay, the two sides will discuss enhancing cooperation in areas such as culture, economy, trade, technology, security and defense.

They are expected to sign several agreements and memoranda on education, investment, transfer of technology, industry and trade.

Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia in January 2016, during which the two countries enhanced their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Saudi Arabia is one of the first countries that have responded positively to China’s Belt and the Road Initiative, which was proposed by Xi in 2013 with an aim to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes by land and sea.

Saudi Arabia, a hub connecting Asia, Africa and Europe, hopes to play a bigger role in the initiative and integrate it with the “Saudi Vision 2030,” a growth strategy it launched last year to diversify its heavily oil-dependent economy.

The Saudi-Chinese relationship can reach such a high level also thanks to the broad common interests nurtured by both.

In recent years, with great complementarity in their industrial structures, the two countries have furthered cooperation in such fields as energy, trade, investment and infrastructure construction.

China became Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner in 2015 and Saudi Arabia has been China’s biggest crude oil supplier and largest trading partner in West Asia for years.

Enjoying such a close relationship, China and Saudi Arabia are expected to further consolidate the ties.