Saudi Arabia and China.. growing relations to enhance regional, international cooperation

Saudi Arabia and China.. growing relations to enhance regional, international cooperation

Riyadh (UNA-OIC) – The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reflects the rapid development in relations between the two countries.

During the Chinese president’s visit (7-9 December 2022), three summits will be held, namely the Saudi-Chinese summit, the Chinese Gulf summit, and the Chinese Arab summit, amid regional and international interest in the outputs of these summits and their contributions to strengthening international cooperation efforts in facing common challenges.

These summits come within the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to develop bilateral relations with the Chinese side as part of its strategic plans to boost its bilateral relations and partnerships with all influential countries and international powers and to establish balanced relations with them to serve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s objectives and contribute to protecting its interests.

The summits also come as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to involve the Gulf and Arab countries in its endeavours to enhance international cooperation, reflecting more stability and prosperity for the region.

“Gulf-Chinese relations are important, as China is the first trade partner of the GCC countries with a mutual desire to develop relations to serve common interests and enhance cooperation in the economic, development, trade and other fields,” said the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council for Arab States Dr Naif Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani said that Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development is an explicit call for economic and investment integration between Iraq and neighbouring countries and that Iraq looks forward to benefiting from China’s successful experiences in various areas, most important of which is the fight against poverty.

In addition to their endeavours to enhance international cooperation, the governments of the Kingdom and China also attach great importance to strengthening the alignment between the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative and the “Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030” by developing cooperation between the two sides in the fields of economy, trade, transport, infrastructure, and energy, as well as Emerging fields, such as 5G technology, artificial intelligence, and big data.

Close relations between the two countries were initiated 80 years ago, encompassing various aspects of cooperation and development in the form of simple trade relations and the reception of Chinese pilgrims, up to their official form in 1990 after the two countries agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between them, exchange ambassadors and organize meetings at the political, economic, youth and other levels.

In January 2016, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received His Excellency President Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, and held a meeting at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

During the visit, 14 agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed between the governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China, including a memorandum to boost cooperation on the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21 Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative, and cooperation in productive capacity.

The Saudi-Chinese relations were significantly enhanced in August 2016, following the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, to the People’s Republic of China upon directives by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in response to the invitation of the Chinese government, where His Royal Highness met with President Xi Jinping, former Chinese vice prime minister Zhang Gaoli and other officials.

In a new and unique scientific achievement at the level of the region and the Islamic world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined the People’s Republic of China in a rare journey to closely explore the invisible side of the moon as part of its growing interest in the exploration of space.

This cooperation between Riyadh and Beijing was in the implementation of a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries during the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to China on March 16, 2017, which established grounds for cooperation with the China National Space Administration to explore the moon.

China has been the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first trading partner for the past five years, ranking as the first destination for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s exports and imports since 2018, where the trade volume reached SAR309 billion in 2021, marking an increase of 39% from 2020, where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s total exports to China amounted to SAR192 billion, including non-oil exports worth SAR41 billion.

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