Beijing, Riyadh cooperation to enter more fruitful era: Chinese vice premier

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Thursday that he believes China-Saudi Arabia cooperation is going to enter a new era, being more robust, sustainable and fruitful.

Zhang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks while meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during his visit to the Gulf Arab nation.

In their meeting, Zhang noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Saudi king exchanged visits in the past two years, ushering in a new era of fast and comprehensive development for the two countries' relationship.

In January 2016, Xi paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia, during which the two countries agreed to upgrade the bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership. King Salman visited China in March.

China always views its relations with Saudi Arabia from a strategic and long-term perspective, and has stayed persistent in promoting long-term friendly cooperation with the country, said Zhang.

"My visit this time is to implement the important consensus reached between President Xi and the king so as to continuously deepen the Chinese-Saudi comprehensive strategic partnership," he added.

Noting that the Belt and Road Initiative has won growing global recognition, he said Beijing appreciates Riyadh's active participation in the initiative and welcomes the country to become a global partner.

The Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Xi in 2013, is aimed at building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road through concerted efforts of all related countries to benefit all participants by promoting unimpeded trade, financial integration, infrastructure connectivity and closer people-to-people exchanges.

"We also support Saudi Arabia in making its 2030 vision a reality, and would like to be a partner as the country diversifies its economy," said Zhang, adding that the two sides are in the middle of negotiating a plan to merge the Belt and Road Initiative and the 2030 vision.

The Saudi growth strategy was put forward last year in a bid to diversify its heavily oil-dependent economy.

Saudi Arabia values its friendship with China, and is willing to deepen bilateral cooperation in energy, trade, investment, security as well as in other areas, said King Salman.

The Saudi king added that his country expects to further promote bilateral ties with China through exchanges of quality visits and the establishment of a high-level joint steering committee, a mechanism the two countries agreed to set up during Xi's visit to the Gulf Arab country last year.

In August last year, Zhang and Saudi Arabia's then Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman co-chaired the first meeting of the committee in Beijing.

Saudi Arabia is the second leg of Zhang's four-nation tour which has already taken him to Kuwait. He will also travel to Sudan and Namibia.

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