Strengthening trade ties and regional security will be priorities during an upcoming visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Saturday.
The visit, which two sources said was due to take place in December, comes at a time when relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States have been strained by a dispute over oil supplies, and amid concerns regarding the growing cooperation between the Gulf Arab States and China. Jubeir did not give details of the trip but said visits between Chinese and Saudi leaders were “natural”.
“China is Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner, we have huge investments in China and the Chinese have huge investments in Saudi Arabia,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit. COP27 climate in Egypt. “We have huge actions in play and these visits are not uncommon,” Jubeir said. “The same with our other trading partners and strategic partners, whether it’s the US, UK, France, Germany, that’s what countries do.”
Two sources familiar with discussions ahead of Xi’s trip said the Chinese leader is expected to visit in the second half of December and attend a China-Gulf summit alongside leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as to a second scheduled summit with other Arab leaders. Asked about the priorities for the trip, Jubeir, who is also the kingdom’s climate envoy, said:
“We are looking at the things that are close to our hearts: stability and security in the region and in the world, how you further increase trade and investment between the two countries, and of course the issue of climate is now at the top of the list. the international relations agenda.” Jubeir said Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, was sincere in its efforts to fight climate change and limit greenhouse gas emissions.
On Thursday, oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to establish a carbon capture and storage center at the COP27 climate talks, one of dozens of initiatives Jubeir said the kingdom was working on. Environmental activists tend to be wary of carbon capture on the grounds that industry can use it to justify the continued use of fossil fuels.
“We believe that in Saudi Arabia there is no contradiction between improving the climate and producing oil,” Jubeir said. (Additional reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)
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