Saudi Arabia, China sign deals worth potentially $65 billion

18 March, 2017, 01:02 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman being received at Beijing International Airport on Wednesday. — SPA

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and his massive entourage landed in Beijing on Wednesday to help sign deals worth up to $65 billion (61 billion euros) alongside China's President Xi Jinping.

While the two sides do not necessarily agree on a strategy to resolve the Syria conflict, Chinese diplomats who spoke to the Hong Kong-based newspaper said China is growing confident about its influential role in a multipolar world.

Asian countries are vital importers of Saudi oil, and the country wants to boost sales to China.

Energy cooperation, which has been the foundation of China-Saudi Arabia relations, is at the center of Saudi Arabia's concerns, according to the report.

Chinese navy vessels also visited the Saudi port of Jeddah as part of increasingly active maneuvers in the Gulf of Aden.

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Meanwhile, a memorandum of understanding with state-run Norinco will look into building refining and chemical projects in China, while Saudi Basic Industries Corp and Sinopec have agreed to develop petrochemical projects in China and Saudi Arabia.

A statement on Saudi state news agency SPA said the documents included an MOU for the kingdom to participate in China's Chang E-4 moon mission and a partnership agreement for drone manufacture.

The Norinco deal could involve a greenfield refinery and chemical plant in Panjin, Liaoning Province, while also upgrading a refinery and petrochemical facility there, a source said.

"This MoU shows Aramco is determined to expand its market share in the Far East by looking beyond oil majors and working closely with new independent clients within its biggest market", said Sadad al-Husseini, an energy consultant and former senior Aramco executive. He noted that Saudi-Chinese trade relationship has increased gradually over the years and the Kingdom has regained its position as the largest supplier of crude oil to China, citing data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

During the press conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamed Asim, said that when the fresh dates are confirmed for the king's visit, it will be announced.

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