Prince of Saudi Arabia: Xi’s visit relaunches the partnership between the Arab countries and China

The wish for a new phase of cooperation between China and the Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, the activism of Beijing and the purchase of oil and gas in yuan, as well as the rejection of external interference in the affairs of individual countries , were the highlights of the three summits hosted in Riyadh by the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, who welcomed the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia has expressed his hope for a new phase of the partnership between Arab countries and China. In his opening speech at the Arab-Chinese summit, which was attended by about 30 heads of state and government of the region, the crown prince expressed his wish to “improve the level of cooperation” and announced his intention to inaugurate “a new phase of partnership”.

For his part, President Xi said that “China and the Arab countries trust each other and are bound by brotherly feelings”, recalling that “the Sino-Arab strategic partnership is based on global cooperation and development for a better future”.

In his speech, Xi recalled that over the past decade, the volume of cooperation has reached $300 billion, while the balance of mutual direct investment amounted to $27 billion, with about 200 projects implemented under the Initiative of New Silk Road (Bri, Belt and Road Initiative).

In his speech, the Chinese president underlined the excellent state of relations between Beijing and the Arab countries, defining them as a model, as demonstrated by the 17 cooperation mechanisms within the Arab-Chinese cooperation forum.

The summit between President Xi and the leaders of the Arab countries was preceded by the summit between China and the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (ccg) – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – chaired by the Chinese head of state himself and the heir to the Saudi throne.

“We are meeting in light of challenges and exceptional circumstances which require us to cooperate,” Mohammed bin Salman said in his opening speech at the China-Gulf summit.

“The summit reflects the common desire to strengthen cooperation” of the GCC monarchies with China, added the Saudi crown prince. “We have discussed the creation of a China-Gulf Free Trade Area and are exploring opportunities for cooperation with China in the areas of food security and supply chains,” the Saudi crown prince said.

In his speech, the heir to the Saudi throne said that the GCC countries confirm their “continuing role as a reliable source of energy to meet the needs of the global economy and China”. In his speech, the Saudi crown prince also stressed, referring to the various unresolved crisis situations, from Libya to Yemen, that “stability in the region will be achieved only with the exit of the “militias” and with the cessation of external interference in internal affairs of countries.

For his part, Chinese President Xi said: “We will continue our firm support for the security of the Gulf countries and continue to import oil in large quantities from the Gulf countries.”

According to the Chinese head of state, the GCC “has managed to overcome global challenges”, noting that it is possible to achieve economic and industrial integration.

“Gulf states and China will create a joint investment hub. We will strengthen cooperation with the Gulf countries to invest in green energy,” said the Chinese president, who opened the possibility of creating a joint center with the regional monarchies for nuclear security.

China will work to buy oil and gas in the yuan, Xi said in his speech, saying China and the Gulf nations should take full advantage of the Shanghai oil and gas exchange as a platform to carry out transactions in the yuan.

“China will continue to import large quantities of crude oil from GCC countries, expand imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), to strengthen cooperation in upstream oil and gas development, engineering services, storage, transportation and refining, and to make full use of the Shanghai Oil and Gas Exchange as a platform for carrying out transactions in yuan under the oil and gas trading,” he said.

In her speech, Xi proposed other areas of cooperation over the next three to five years, including finance and investment, innovation and new technologies, as well as aerospace, language and culture.

The Chinese president’s statement on the possibility of carrying out commercial operations in the purchase of oil and gas in yuan confirms Beijing’s goal of establishing its currency internationally, weakening the US dollar’s grip on world trade. 

“China is willing to carry out financial regulatory cooperation with the GCC countries, facilitate Gulf enterprises to enter China’s capital market, establish a joint investment association with the Gulf, support both sides’ sovereign wealth funds to cooperate in various forms,” Xi said.

The leading oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and the world’s second largest economy, both sent strong messages during Xi’s visit on “non-interference” at a time when the relationship between the Saudi kingdom and the United States has been strained over on the issue of respect for human rights, with the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and on the energy front, with the Washington administration led by Joe Biden which strongly criticized the policy of oil cuts initiated by the Gulf countries, accusing Riyadh of favoring Russia.



Arab Observer

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