China-Saudi Arabia cooperation to enter more fruitful era, broad consensus reached on key projects
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- 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.
China and Saudi Arabia reached broad consensus on bilateral cooperation in such fields as energy, finance and industrial capacity, and on key cooperation projects when Zhang met the Saudi king and crown prince in the Saudi Red Sea resort of Jeddah.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud exchanged visits in the past two years, ushering in a new era of fast and comprehensive development for the two countries' relationship, Zhang said when meeting with King Salman.
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, Zhang 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 synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the 2030 vision.
The Saudi growth strategy was put forward last year in a bid to diversify the country's economy which is heavily dependent on oil.
BROAD CONSENSUS ON COOPERATION
China and Saudi Arabia agreed, among others, to set up a package of bilateral energy cooperation mechanisms when Zhang met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Also during the talks, they vowed to push forward a sea water desalination project using high temperature gas-cooled reactors, as well as a Chinese industry park in Saudi Arabia's southern border region of Jizan, and support the construction of a power plant in the western Saudi coastal town of Rabigh.
The two sides agreed to promote cooperation over petrochemical projects and security matters, and enhance international coordination so as to further boost their bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
Also on Thursday, Zhang and Mohammed co-chaired the second meeting of a high-level steering committee, a regular meeting mechanism set up during Xi's state visit to the Gulf Arab country last year. The two co-hosted the first meeting of the committee in Beijing last August.
They agreed that the two countries have made smooth progress in key projects, and signed 30 major projects over industrial capacity and investment cooperation.
Two-way trade has developed soundly with Saudi Arabia being China's largest trading partner in the region of West Asia and North Africa over the past 15 years.
Both sides pledged to strengthen coordination and communication on such multilateral platforms as the UN and the Group of 20 gatherings on major issues that concern the world system and order as well as the rights and interests of developing countries in a bid to cement strategic trust.
Beijing and Riyadh also vowed to further synergize their development strategies, and promote practical cooperation and cultural and people-to-people exchanges for shared benefits and win-win results.
They were also committed to stronger cooperation and exchanges in the fields of culture, education, health, technology, tourism and journalism.
After the meeting, the two sides signed the minutes of the meeting, and the two leaders witnessed the signing of a host of cooperation agreements involving investment, trade, energy, postal service, communications and media.
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.