Crown Prince arrives in Beijing; to meet President Xi


Saudi Gazette report

BEIJING — Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, arrived in Beijing Thursday, in the last leg of his high-profile three-nation Asian tour that already took him to Pakistan and India.

Upon arrival at the airport in Beijing on Thursday morning, the Crown Prince was received by Deputy Chairman of Advisory and Political Council of China Khi Li Fung, Saudi Ambassador Turki Al-Madi, Chinese Ambassador to the Kingdom Li Huaxin, and a number of officials.

The Crown Prince will hold wide ranging talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman will then co-chair the third meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee.

During the visit, a Saudi-Chinese Forum in Beijing is scheduled for Friday to promote joint economic cooperation between the two countries and consolidate economic and cultural relations to achieve the goals of sustainable development in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The two countries will sign agreements and memorandums of understanding in the energy, investment, transport and technology fields, said the Saudi Ambassador Al-Madi.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said the two-day visit of Muhammad Bin Salman to Beijing would seek to promote the greater development of Sino-Saudi relations and deepen cooperation on China’s ambitious Belt and Road global trade infrastructure initiative.

“In recent years, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Saudi Arabia has maintained a sound momentum of development with deepening political mutual trust and fruitful practical cooperation in such areas as energy, infrastructure and space satellite,” he said.

“We hope this visit can further strengthen the China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership, build greater synergy between our development strategies, deepen cooperation in various sectors under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and boost in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues of common concern, so as to achieve greater progress in China-Saudi Arabia relations,” he noted.

“Saudi Arabia has a lot of capital that needs to find profitable places to be deployed,” Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih told China’s official Xinhua news agency.

“China is a great place to invest with a huge market and an improving environment,” Shuang said. Ambassador Al-Madi told SPA that the visit of the Crown Prince embodies deep-rooted relations and strategic partnership between the two countries in all fields.

Saudi Cultural Attaché in China Dr. Fahd Al-Shareef stressed that the visit of Crown Prince to China reflects the deep-rooted ties between the two countries that are joined by distinguished strategic relations, which are witnessing a huge development in all fields.

“The Cultural Mission is working, within the efforts of the Saudi diplomatic mission in Beijing, to enhance the exchange of knowledge, culture and heritage between the two countries by dispatching students on scholarship to China and attracting more Chinese students into Saudi universities, whether university studies or graduate studies, in addition to the scientific exchange between faculty members and exchange of knowledge in the field of scientific research, through the use of research centers in both sides,” he said, adding that there are many plans to increase the volume of knowledge exchange between the two countries.

The Crown Prince flew to Beijing from New Delhi at the end of his two-day official visit to India on Wednesday during which he met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind. After his meeting with Modi, the Crown Prince said the Kingdom saw investment opportunities in various fields to exceed $100 billion while in Pakistan, the Crown Prince signed a raft of investment deals worth up to $20 billion in the first leg of his tour.

In cables of thanks sent to Modi and Kovind on Thursday, the Crown Prince expressed his utmost gratitude and appreciation for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him and the accompanying delegation. “The talks I held with Your Excellency have confirmed the strength of strategic relations between our two countries and the importance of working to enhance joint cooperation in all fields in the interests of our two friendly countries and peoples,” he said in a cable to Modi.

In the cable to Kovind, the Crown Prince said: “Mr. President, this visit has contributed to enhancing bilateral relations between our two friendly countries in all fields and discussing issues of common concern in the interests of our two friendly countries. I wish Your Excellency constant good health and happiness, and your country and friendly people steady progress and prosperity.”