December 9, 2022
RIYADH – Nations pledge to increase bilateral trade, investment, boost cooperation
Beijing and Riyadh agreed on Thursday to scale up Belt and Road cooperation, expand bilateral trade and investment and boost coordination on international and regional affairs during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Saudi Arabia.
Xi had talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud at Al Yamama Palace, in his first visit to the Arab country since 2016.
The Chinese president also signed an agreement with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on a bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, and the two sides agreed to host summits between their heads of state on a biennial basis.
In talks with the Saudi crown prince, Xi underscored Beijing’s steadfast support for the sovereignty, security and stability of Saudi Arabia, saying that China will support the nation in continuing to follow a path that suits its national conditions.
China supports the Vision 2030 and Middle East Green initiatives from the Saudi side and is willing to take a proactive part in the industrialization process of the Middle Eastern country and help with the nation’s efforts to diversify its economy, he said.
He called on the two sides to better align the Belt and Road Initiative and Vision 2030, and to enable more outcomes from bilateral cooperation.
China stands ready to scale up its crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia, boost cooperation in exploration and exploitation and enable the sound implementation of the ethylene project in Fujian province, he said.
The two sides should bolster cooperation in production capacity and infrastructure cooperation, work more closely together in trade, investment and finance and expand their cooperation in e-commerce, the digital economy, clean energy, high technology and research and development in the aviation sector, he said.
Xi highlighted the need for greater cooperation in law enforcement, security, counter-terrorism and the eradication of extremism.
Xi expressed his delight at the letter he received from the over 100 representatives of people studying Chinese in the Arab country, saying that the nation is willing to work toward more outcomes in bilateral cooperation in the Chinese language learning.
Beijing agreed to include Saudi Arabia as one of the destinations for Chinese tourists on organized tours to expand bilateral people-to-people exchanges, he said.
Xi stressed that China supports Saudi Arabia playing a greater role in international and regional affairs and stands ready to boost bilateral communication and coordination in multilateral platforms including the United Nations and the Group of 20.
He expressed Beijing’s readiness to make the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit events of milestone significance in relations between China and Arab countries and China and the GCC, and bring the ties to a higher level.
The Saudi crown prince said his country is the comprehensive strategic partner of China in the Middle East.
Riyadh looks forward to greater mutual support with Beijing and joint commitment to upgrade the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, he said, adding that he believes the visit will be a key milestone in bilateral ties.
Saudi Arabia remains firm in adhering to the one-China principle and supporting the nation’s efforts in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, he said.
He said the Arab country is willing to work with China in the joint building of the Belt and Road, expand trade and two-way investment and scale up cooperation in the automobile, science and technology, chemical engineering and mining sectors.
It is important to boost cooperation in energy and food security and the response to climate change, he said.
China is the top trade partner of Saudi Arabia, and the Middle Eastern country is China’s largest source of oil imports.
Trade between the two nations reached a total volume of $87.31 billion in 2021, up by 30.1 percent year-on-year.
Xi also attended a ceremony in which he received an honorary doctoral degree from King Saud University.