Energy cooperation remains the foundation of relations between Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, and China, the world’s biggest importer
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz have agreed to step up cooperation in diverse areas to push forward their all-round strategic partnership.
The two leaders oversaw the signing of up to $65 billion worth of economic and trade deals spanning sectors from energy to space, according to Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming.
Saudi Arabia and China also deepened their energy relationship with more than 20 agreements on oil investments and in renewable energy.
The deals included a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between giant state oil firm Saudi Aramco and China North Industries Group Corp (Norinco), to look into building refining and chemical plants in China.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and Sinopec, which already jointly run a chemical complex in Tinajin, also agreed to develop petrochemical projects in both China and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is on a month-long tour of Asia as Riyadh struggles with a slumping oil market and a desperate need to diversify its economy.
Energy cooperation remains the foundation of relations between Saudi Arabia, the world’s top exporter of crude oil, and China, the world’s biggest importer, notes Naser Al-Tamimi in his article published in Arab News.
In January 2016, during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Saudi Arabia, the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership.
China-Saudi Arabia to cooperate in diverse fields
China is a reliable and stable market for Saudi Arabia’s oil, President Xi said, calling for closer cooperation in such areas as energy, communication, aviation, finance and investment, culture, education, public health, technology, tourism, media and security.
China supports Saudi Arabia as it advances on a development path suitable to its national conditions, maintains national sovereignty, security and development interests, and plays greater role in regional and global affairs, Xi said.
Saudi Arabia hopes China will play greater role in Middle East
King Salman appreciated China’s role in maintaining international peace and security, expressing his hope for China’s greater role in Middle Eastern affairs.
“Saudi Arabia is willing to work hard with China to promote global and regional peace, security and prosperity,” Salman said. He added he hoped China would increase its role in Middle East affairs.
China however has tried to maintain friendly ties with all sides despite conflicting geopolitical interests. “Instead of looking for a proxy in the Middle East, we promote peace talks,” Xi said. “Instead of attempting to fill the vacuum, we build a cooperative partnership network for win-win outcomes.”