China and Saudi Arabia have vowed to upgrade their partnership with more top-level dialogues and coordination on energy policy, South China Morning Post said.
The paper that compares and contrasts the reception on visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping with that of U.S. President Joe Biden in July interprets it as an indicator how much preference China has got.
It highlighted the significance of Xi’s message – China regarded Saudi Arabia, as a ‘Foreign Relations Priority’, especially in its ties with the Middle East–during his conversation with Saudi crown prince Mohammd Bin Salman and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Thursday.
A statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry Friday quoting President Xi endorsed that spirit “The current international and regional situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, and the strategic importance of China-Saudi Arabia relations has become more prominent,” the statement said.
The two nations agreed to the meeting between their heads of state every two years and elevated the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee – established for trade, tech, culture, tourism and security matters – from vice-premier to premier level.
In a meeting with the crown prince, who is also the Saudi prime minister, Xi said China was willing to step up energy policy coordination and expand crude oil trade with the kingdom in addition to their existing joint exploration projects. The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding on hydrogen energy.
A number of other agreements were also signed, including a plan to “harmonise” Vision 2030 – Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic reform agenda – with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the trade and infrastructure programme linking China to countries across Asia and Africa, SCMP said.
The signed deals covered a petrochemicals project, housing development and the teaching of the Chinese language. China also agreed to list Saudi Arabia as a destination for outbound tourism and expand personnel and cultural exchanges.