Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia this week, meeting the king and de facto ruler of the world’s biggest oil exporter. The Chinese leader will arrive today for only his third trip abroad since the coronavirus pandemic began and his first to Saudi Arabia since 2016.
It is expected that Initial agreements worth $29.26bn will be signed during a Saudi-Chinese summit this week, official Saudi agency said.
His bilateral summit, chaired by King Salman and attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, comes after Xi secured a historic third term in November.
Xi’s visit reflects “much deeper relations developed in recent years” between the two countries, said Ali Shihabi, a Saudi analyst close to the government.
“As the largest importer of Saudi oil, China is a critically important partner and military relations have been developing strongly,” he said, adding that he expected “a number of agreements to be signed”.
The visit also coincides with heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States over issues ranging from energy policy to regional security and human rights.