Saudi Crown Prince to head to China in final stop of Asian tour

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will head to China in the final stop of his Asian tour that has already seen him visit Pakistan and India this week.

The two-day visit to Beijing, which begins on Thursday, seeks to “promote the greater development of Sino-Saudi relations” and “deepen cooperation” on China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” according to Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

The visit will include further discussion on deals already signed in Islamabad regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has received a significant boost in its efforts to strengthen regional connectivity after Saudi Arabia agreed to join hands and fund a major oil refinery project.

“We have noted relevant reports and are glad to see Pakistan develop friendly exchanges and cooperation with other countries, including Saudi Arabia,” Shuang said on Tuesday ahead of the Crown Prince’s visit.

“The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a pioneering project of the Belt and Road Initiative and has been following the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits as well as openness and transparency,” he added.

Furthering investments

During the visit, a Saudi-Chinese Forum will be held in Beijing on Friday to promote joint economic cooperation between the two countries and consolidate economic and cultural relations to achieve the goals of sustainable development in various fields, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The forum will be hosted in cooperation with the International Cooperation Center (ICC) of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in China, where both sides will discuss the areas of enhancing Saudi Arabia’s strategic alignment with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

One of the companies taking part at Friday’s forum is Pan-Asia, which will contribute to the construction of the first development projects wholly owned by foreign companies in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, with a total value of $1 billion.

The event on Friday will also showcase the “Invest in Saudi Arabia” exhibition, which includes the participation of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Trade and Investment, the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Aramco and SABIC.

China’s relations with Saudi Arabia were raised to a new level under Saudi King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping after the two agreed to promote a comprehensive strategic partnership back in 2016.

A one-day Saudi-Chinese Investment Forum during King Salman’s visit to Beijing in 2017 ended with 45 agreements signed between China and the Kingdom.