The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is on a two-day visit to China. He will be meeting the Chinese President Xi Jinping who is keen on increasing the presence of China in the Middle-East and is trying to break the tradition of maintaining a low-profile in that part of the world. Meanwhile, ahead of the meeting with the Saudi delegation which includes top leaders from oil and natural gas giant Aramco, a top diplomat from the Chinese government said that there is enormous potential in the economy of Saudi Arabia and also said that they are looking for more high-tech cooperation.
The Saudi delegation, which is on a tour of Asia is returning from Pakistan where they have made an investment pledge of $20 billion and is making a pledge in India’s refining industry. State councilor Wang Yi who met the Saudi Finance minister Adel al-Jubeir said that they spoke about improving the ties between the countries through support, respect and mutual understanding. The ministry released this statement ‘All countries in the world have the right to develop, and Saudi Arabia is an emerging market country with enormous potential. China supports Saudi’s efforts to diversify its economy and is willing to strengthen high-tech cooperation.’
Sources said that Aramco which is the top oil exporter in the world is about to sign a memorandum of understanding to construct an oil refinery and also a project in petrochemicals in the Liaoning province as a joint venture with Norinco which is a defense conglomerate in China. The investments are part of an effort by Saudi Arabia to get back its place as the top exporter of oil to China. With respect to security, Wang said that both countries should cooperate to safeguard its stability and security.
China is not looking at active politics in the Middle East, a leading tabloid said in its editorial. The paper also added that ‘China won’t be a geopolitical player in the Middle East. It has no enemies and can cooperate with all countries in the region. China’s increasing influence in the Middle East comes from pure friendly cooperation. Such a partnership will be welcomed by more countries in the Middle East.
China has to be careful when considering its relations with Riyadh, as it has close relations with Saudi’s enemy Iran. Xi told Iran’s parliament that China still desires to have close relations with the country and that talks with Riyadh will not alter the ties with Iran.