BEIJING, Dec. 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A grand welcoming ceremony, high-level bilateral meetings and wide-covering investment agreements are among proofs that China–Saudi Arabia relations have been lifted to a new high.
On Thursday, President Xi Jinping and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed an agreement on the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and also agreed to hold a meeting between the two heads of state by turns every two years.
In the welcoming ceremony held by Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on behalf of King at the royal palace in the capital Riyadh on Thursday, Xi reviewed the guard of honor, who extended the most solemn welcome to the Chinese president with traditional sword-holding etiquette.
This visit also witnessed the efforts of the two sides to enhance people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. In a signed article published Thursday on the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh, Xi said that “China and Saudi Arabia have admired each other and conducted friendly exchanges since ancient times. The prophet Muhammad said, ‘Seek knowledge even if you have to go as far as China.'”
Such mutual respect has been carried forward to today. On Thursday China agrees to list Saudi Arabia as a destination for group travel and expand personnel exchanges as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides.
Abdulaziz O. Sager, chairman of the Gulf Research Center in Saudi Arabia told the Global Times that China–Saudi Arabia relationship is a good role model that can be expanded to different countries in the Middle East region, as the great relationship is based on mutual interests and non-intervention in the domestic issues from both sides.
“There is a lot of complementarities between BRI and the Saudi vision 2030,” said Sager, noting this unleashes many opportunities for China and Saudi Arabia to have stronger ties. He expects the China–Saudi Arabia and China-Arab relations to move forward not only from an economic dimension, but to have a political dimension, saying the Arab countries are looking for more constructive engagement with China on regional issues that are of concern to them.
Zhu Weilie, director of the Middle East Studies Institute at Shanghai International Studies University, said “China-Saudi strategic relations have now entered a new level covering many more areas, and the two countries share similar aspirations in the country’s development and reform, especially in green energy and digital economy.”