China’s Xi meets MBS before summit with Arab leaders
As part of a tour intended to strengthen political and commercial ties, Chinese President Xi Jinping was met by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in Riyadh.
MBS welcomed Xi on Thursday at Yamamah Palace, where the de facto leader of the largest oil exporter in the world is anticipated to sign agreements worth about $30 billion, according to Saudi state media.
The two leaders conversed as they entered the palace, the king’s formal house and the location of the royal court, as a brass band performed their respective national anthems.
On Wednesday, while formation aircraft flew overhead during Xi’s arrival, Saudi state media announced 34 investment deals in industries such as green hydrogen, information technology, transportation, and building.
In 2021, two-way commerce reached a total of 304 billion Saudi riyals ($80 billion), and in the third quarter of 2022, it reached 103 billion Saudi riyals ($27 billion), according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
On Thursday, another 20 contracts for 110 billion riyals ($29.3 billion) were expected to be inked, according to the state TV Al Ekhbariya.
Ahead of the meeting with Xi, who will hold separate talks with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before departing on Friday, Arab leaders have also started to gather in the Saudi capital.
All four heads of state were arriving on Thursday: Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Tunisian President Kais Saied, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, the prime minister of Iraq, Aziz Akhannouch, the prime minister of Morocco, and Najib Mikati, the interim prime minister of Lebanon, have all confirmed their attendance.
The People’s Republic of China’s foreign ministry billed Xi’s travel this week as the “largest-scale diplomatic action between China and the Arab world” since the founding of the country. This is only Xi’s third trip abroad since the COVID pandemic.