Saudi crown prince meets Chinese president, bags oil deal

February 22, 2019

BEIJING: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman met China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday and bagged a $10-billion oil deal.

Prince Mohammad arrived in Beijing on Thursday following visits to Pakistan and India.

“China is a good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia,” Xi told Prince Mohammad in a meeting in the Great Hall of the People. “Saudi Arabia’s relations with China can be traced back a very long time in the past,” the crown prince said. “Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China.” He met with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng earlier on Friday.

Vice Premier Han suggested during his meeting with the crown prince that the two countries deepen partnerships in energy, infrastructure construction, finance, and high-tech.

Riyadh’s national oil giant Saudi Aramco said it had signed an agreement to form a Saudi-Chinese joint venture — worth more than $10 billion — to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in northeastern Liaoning province.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority also announced the signing of 35 non-binding memorandums of understanding, including deals related to energy, mining, transportation and e-commerce.

China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner.

“As the kingdom diversifies its non-oil economy, it needs a variety of other investors with technical expertise, including the Chinese,” Otaibi said.

“China steadfastly supports Saudi Arabia pushing a diversification of its economy and societal reforms,” Xi told Mohammad, according to state broadcaster CCTV, adding he supported the hard work the kingdom has undertaken to promote stability and safety at home.

The Saudis said they “firmly supported” Beijing’s efforts to keep the country secure, and opposed “interference by external forces in China’s internal affairs”, Xinhua added, paraphrasing remarks by the crown prince.