Tue, 31 Jan 2023

Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], December 7 (ANI): Chinese President Xi Jinping will pay a three-day official visit to Saudi Arabia starting Wednesday at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, state media said.

Xi and Saudi Arabian King are scheduled to hold a Saudi-Chinese summit that will also be attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Xinhua news agency reported.

The meeting will focus on developing a strategic partnership between the two countries amid tensions with the United States.

The agenda of the Chinese President's trip include the Arab Gulf-Chinese summit for cooperation and development and the Arab-China meeting with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Saudi Arabia and China also plan to sign deals worth more than USD 29.3 billion to bolster relations between the two countries, Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National News reported, citing state media agency SPA.

On Tuesday, the Saudi news agency said that King Salman had invited Xi "in order to strengthen the historical relations and distinguished strategic partnership that unites the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the People's Republic of China."According to The National News, the meetings mirror a visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year by US President Joe Biden who met with regional allies in Saudi Arabia to reassure partners of America's commitment to the Middle East.

The US and Saudi Arabia are still embroiled in a heated spat over oil production, which in October culminated in strong rhetoric and traded accusations when the Saudi-led oil cartel OPEC slashed output by two million barrels per day in an effort to "stabilize" prices.

According to CNN, the decision was taken despite heavy US campaigning against it.

Not only with Saudi Arabia, US relations with China have also been strained. China and Saudi Arabia have also taken different stances from the West regarding the Ukraine war.

Both have refrained from endorsing sanctions on Russia, and Riyadh has repeatedly maintained that Moscow is a key energy-producing partner that must be consulted on OPEC decisions, reported CNN.

Following last month's massive oil cut, some US officials have accused Saudi Arabia of siding with Russia and aiding President Vladimir Putin with his war on Ukraine. (ANI)

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