Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 7 for a visit that is likely to focus on energy ties as the United States warns of China’s growing influence.
President Xi Jinping, who was recently re-elected as the leader of China, the world’s second largest economy, arrived in the capital Riyadh for a three-day visit, Saudi and Chinese media reported, during which Xi will hold talks with Saudi and other Arab leaders.
When President Xi arrived at the airport in Riyadh, he was greeted with a purple carpet spread and Saudi officials, including Prince Faisal bin Fahan, the former Saudi foreign minister, and Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of the city of Riyadh, came to welcome him.
China and Saudi Arabia seem to be trying to expand bilateral relations amid economic instability and geopolitical changes, as China is one of the largest buyers of oil imports from Saudi Arabia.
The trip will be Xi’s third foreign trip since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, and his first visit to Saudi Arabia since 2016. Xi’s visit came after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the largest oil exporter in the world, in July this year.
During President Xi’s visit, Saudi King Salman In addition to meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the main leader of the country, he will also hold a summit meeting with the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Sino-Arab summit talks will also be held.
Asked by reporters about Xi’s visit, White House National Security Council spokesman John Carby said Saudi Arabia remains an important ally of the United States, and he warned that China is trying to spread its influence around the world.
“We believe that many of the things they are trying to do and the way they are doing things are not conducive to maintaining an international rules-based landscape,” Kaby said, adding that the United States did not expect the world to choose between the two superpowers.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on December 7 that Saudi Arabia will remain China’s trusted partner in the global oil market.
From 2005 to 2020, more than 20 percent of China’s investment portfolio in the Arab world was invested in Saudi Arabia, the largest amount compared to any other country in the region, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.