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Saudi Arabia, China sign comprehensive partnership agreement

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Saudi Arabia and China have signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement aimed at deepening ties between both countries.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz signed the agreement with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, who received a lavish welcome in a country forging new global partnerships beyond the West.

The Chinese leader also held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, de facto ruler of the oil giant, who greeted him with a warm smile.

The United States said on Wednesday Xi’s trip is an example of Chinese attempts to exert influence around the world and would not change U.S. policy towards the Middle East.

A memorandum with China’s Huawei Technologies on cloud computing and building high-tech complexes in Saudi cities, was agreed despite U.S. unease with Gulf allies over a possible security risk in using the Chinese firm’s technology.

Huawei has participated in building 5G networks in most Gulf states despite the U.S. concerns.

Xi said he is on a pioneering trip to “open a new era of China’s relations with the Arab world, the Arab countries of the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia”.

China and Arab countries would “continue to hold high the banner of non-interference in internal affairs”, Xi added.

That sentiment was echoed by the crown prince, who said his country opposed any “interference in China’s internal affairs in the name of human rights”, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said.

Also Read: Biden, Xi meet in Bali, pledge more communications

Xi, due to meet other Gulf oil producers and attend a wider gathering of Arab leaders on Friday, said China would work to make those summits “milestone events in the history of China-Arab relations”, and that Beijing sees Riyadh as “an important force in the multipolar world”.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates have said that they would not choose sides between global powers and were diversifying partners to serve national economic and security interests.

China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, is a major trade partner of Gulf states and bilateral ties have expanded as the region pushes economic diversification, raising U.S. hackles about Chinese involvement in sensitive Gulf infrastructure.

Trusted and reliable partner

The Saudi energy minister on Wednesday said Riyadh would stay a “trusted and reliable” energy partner for Beijing and the two would boost cooperation in energy supply chains by setting up a regional centre in the kingdom for Chinese factories.

Chinese and Saudi firms also signed 34 deals for investment in green energy, information technology, cloud services, transport, construction and other sectors, state news agency SPA reported.

 

Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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