Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hailed relations with China as trouble-free, during talks on Friday with President Xi Jinping in Beijing aimed at strengthening relations between the countries.
Citing a 33 percent increase in bilateral trade last year, the crown prince said high-level contacts were paying off in areas from commerce to security and defense.
“Saudi Arabia’s relations with China can be traced back a very long time in the past,” Prince Mohammed told Xi at their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in the heart of the Chinese capital.
“Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China,” he said.
The Crown Prince earlier on Friday presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with agreements on cooperation in fields ranging from petroleum and the chemical industry to investment, renewable energy and counter-terrorism. Saudi Arabia is one of China’s top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.
Prince Mohammed also pledged Saudi Arabia’s backing for China’s gargantuan “belt and road” infrastructure project, saying he was willing to link it with the kingdom's Vision 2030 plans - a blueprint put forth by the crown prince to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil, particularly as sustainable sources of energy become cheaper and more popular.
The Crown Prince’s visit follows trips to India and Pakistan. He is also due to visit industrial powerhouse South Korea on his Asian tour.