China sees ‘enormous potential’ in Saudi economy

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China sees “enormous potential” in Saudi Arabia’s economy and wants more high-tech cooperation, the Chinese government’s top diplomat said, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began a two-day trip to Beijing.

The Saudi delegation, including top executives from Aramco, arrived on Thursday on an Asia tour that has already seen the kingdom pledge investment of $20 bln in Pakistan and seek additional investment in India’s refining industry.

The crown prince will meet President Xi Jinping, who has made stepping up China’s presence in the Middle East a key foreign policy objective, despite its traditional low-key role there.

Meeting Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the main features of their ties were respect, understanding and support for each other, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.

“All countries in the world have the right to develop, and Saudi Arabia is an emerging market country with enormous potential,” the ministry paraphrased Wang as saying.

ALSO READ: Saudi Crown Prince expects investments in India to reach $100 bln

China supports Saudi’s efforts to diversify its economy and is willing to strengthen high-tech cooperation, Wang added.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil exporter, will sign a pact to build a refinery and petrochemical project in northeastern Liaoning province in a joint venture with China’s defense conglomerate Norinco, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

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