China, Saudi Arabia Ink $65-Billion Worth Of Preliminary Deals


Last year China imported 51 million tons of oil from the Saudi, and bilateral trade reached more than 42 billion U.S. Dollars.

Next week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits China.

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming told reporters Thursday that 14 agreements pertaining to investments, energy and space were signed when Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, according to Xinhua news agency.

Saudi Arabia may become a leading auto manufacturer if the kingdom's new agency can demonstrate the feasibility of producing vehicles and parts for one of the world's largest auto companies.

Energy cooperation, which has been the foundation of China-Saudi Arabia relations, is at the center of Saudi Arabia's concerns, according to the report. Xi visited both Saudi Arabia and Iran in January past year.

Opposition parties in the Maldives had planned protests during Salman's visit against what they said was a government plan to sell 21 tiny islands to a member of the Saudi royal family.

Aramco said in written statements the MoU was for the development of refinery and chemical facilities.

China had long taken a backseat to disputes in the Middle East but especially with the United States' global diplomatic stance under President Donald Trump unclear, Xi started taking a new approach with steps that include hosting talks between the opposing parties in the Syrian conflict.

Outside oil exports, Saudi Arabia is also looking for opportunities to expand its refining and chemical production markets, Reuters notes, as part of its growth strategy.

Security ties between Saudi Arabia and China also grew significantly, with the Saudi air force deploying Chinese unmanned attack drones and the two militaries holding joint counter-terrorism exercises in western China.

King Salman's anticipated trip to China is his first official and third private visit.