Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh on Wednesday for a three-day visit, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The three-day trip is Xi’s third overseas journey since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Saudi officials including Prince Faisal bin Bandar, Riyadh’s governor, and Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan welcomed Xi upon his arrival to King Khalid International Airport.
Xi’s visit to the Kingdom will run until December 9 during which a Saudi-China summit headed by King Salman and the Chinese president, with the participation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be held.
Two other summits, a China-Gulf summit and a China-Arab summit, will also be held with leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Arab states expected to attend.
The Gulf-Chinese summit will be held on Friday, according to GCC Secretary General Nayef al-Hajraf.
Upon his arrival to the airport, Xi said that he looked forward to the China-Arab and China-GCC summits, which will be held during his visit to strengthen ties with Arab and Gulf countries.
He added that he will discuss bilateral ties as well as international and regional affairs with King Salman and the Crown Prince during his visit, his first to the Kingdom since 2016.
Commenting on “close ties” between Beijing and Riyadh, Xi said “practical cooperation between the two countries yielded fruitful results in [various] fields.” He said that China and Saudi Arabia continue to “closely coordinate and communicate” regarding regional and international affairs.
He also said that he and King Salman had strengthened ties between the two countries ever since establishing the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016, “strongly contributing to improving peace, stability and development in the region.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi FM said the summits which will be held during Xi’s visit “confirm the keenness of the Kingdom, China and brothers in the Gulf and Arab region to enhance mutual work and develop strategic relations to achieve more prosperity and development.”
He also said that the Kingdom looks forward to “working with China and brothers in the Gulf and Arab [world] through the three summits which Riyadh will host to strengthen cooperation in political, economic, social and developmental fields.”
Prince Faisal added that ties between the Kingdom and China are “strategic and close” amid current developments and changes in the international arena.
Earlier this week, SPA reported that more than 20 initial agreements worth SAR 110 billion ($29.26 billion) will be signed during Xi Jinping’s visit to the Kingdom.
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