Chinese President Xi Jinping started on Wednesday an official three-day visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Xi and Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud are scheduled to hold a Saudi-Chinese summit that will also be attended by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The meeting will focus on developing a strategic partnership between the two countries, given their recent tensions with the United States.
Before holding talks with King Salman, he said he hoped to lift “co-operation in various fields to a new level”.
Xi’s trip to Riyadh will include, in addition to a “Saudi-Chinese summit,” a China-Arab summit and a China-GCC summit, according to SPA, which said “prospects for economic and development cooperation will be discussed.”
At least 14 Arab heads of state are expected to attend the China-Arab summit, according to an Arab diplomatic source who described the trip to CNN as a “milestone” for Arab-Chinese relations.
Reports of the long-awaited visit come against the backdrop of a number of disagreements harbored by the US toward both Beijing and Riyadh.
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. The decision was taken despite heavy US campaigning against it.
Later this week, Xi will travel to Iran.