Saudi King visits China, signs deals worth up to $65 billion


Saudi King visits China, signs deals worth up to $65 billion

Next week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits China.

Saudi Arabia oversees more than two million Muslims from around the world making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam which every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to is obliged to undertake at least once.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to boost oil sales to China, the world's second-largest oil market, after losing market share to Russian Federation.

As well as boosting oil sales, the 81-year-old's Asia trip was aimed at promoting investment opportunities in the kingdom, including the sale of a stake in Saudi Aramco, the massive state-owned company worth trillions of dollars.

"This visit will push forward and continue to improve the quality of our relations and bear new fruit", Xi said in comments in to reporters.

According to Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, they agreed on memorandums of understanding, involving everything from energy to space.

"King Salman's Asia trip occurs against the backdrop that US global dominance has shown signs of declining amid America's gradual withdrawal from the Middle East and China has become increasingly active in the region", Li said.

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.

Aramco said in written statements the MoU was for the development of refinery and chemical facilities.

Experts say Beijing's non-interference in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy and its reliance on the region for oil is much valued.

Security ties between Saudi Arabia and China also grew significantly, with the Saudi air force deploying Chinese unmanned attack drones and the two militaries holding joint counter-terrorism exercises in western China.

The United States has also decreased imports of Saudi oil in the wake of a shale gas boom.

The Maldives' government said Friday that Saudi Arabia's king has postponed an official visit because of the spread of swine flu in the archipelago nation.



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