China’s Xi visits Saudi Arabia to cement Gulf Arab ties

Dec 6, 2022, 7:58 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2022, 8:30 am
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, greets by Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Governor of...

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, greets by Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh, after his arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

(Saudi Press Agency via AP)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to attend meetings with oil-rich Gulf Arab nations crucial to his country’s energy supplies as Beijing tries to revive an economy battered by its strict coronavirus measures.

Saudi and Chinese flags flew Wednesday in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, as Xi arrived on an Air China Boeing 747, accompanied by jets spraying green-and-white smoke in the sky after the colors of the Saudi flag. Another set of jets sprayed red and yellow, the colors of the Chinese flag, according to footage released by Saudi state television.

Xi waved from the top of the stairs alongside his plane then later descended to greet Saudi officials at the airport, shaking hands with the governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar.

Gulf Arab states are trying to recalibrate their foreign policy as the United States turns its attention elsewhere in the world.

Russia’s war on Ukraine — and the West’s hardening stance on Moscow — has also left the Arab countries wanting to cement ties with China.

During the visit, Xi is expect to attend the inaugural China-Arab States Summit and a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes the kingdom along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Though few other details about the visit have emerged, Chinese authorities offered superlatives ahead of the trip.

It’s the “largest and highest-level diplomatic event between China and the Arab world since the founding of the People’s Republic of China and will become an epoch-making milestone in the history of China-Arab relations,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters at a daily briefing on Wednesday.

Whether the meeting reaches those heights, Xi knows he needs that supply of crude oil. China, the world’s largest crude oil importer, relies heavily on Saudi oil, paying tens of billions of dollars annually to the kingdom.

Xi plans to meet both 86-year-old Saudi King Salman, as well as his 37-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. For Prince Mohammed, hosting Xi boosts his own international profile after being linked to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Beyond China’s oil purchases, its construction expertise could be tapped as well for Prince Mohammed’s planned $500 billion futuristic city of Neom on the Red Sea. Chinese construction firms have worked elsewhere in Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, particularly in Dubai in the UAE.

Saudi Arabia, home to the holiest sites in Islam, also has provided political cover to China over its harsh policies toward Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. More than a million have been sent to detention centers, forced to denounce Islam and swear fealty to Xi and the party.

The trip to Saudi Arabia marks a further move by Xi to restore his global profile after spending most of the pandemic inside China. The visit is his third overseas trip since early 2020. It also comes as Xi, who was granted a third five-year term as leader in October, has faced street protests over his zero-COVID-19 policies that represent the most-significant challenge to his rule.

The political risk consultancy Eurasia Group said in a report that with no major differences between China and Saudi Arabia on human rights, the tone of Xi’s visit is “likely to be much more positive” than the visit earlier this year to the kingdom by U.S. President Joe Biden,

“Nevertheless, the relationship still has a long way to go if it is to become as deep and nuanced as Saudi-U.S. ties,” the report said.

___

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - U.S. Loyce Pace, Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at Department of Health and Human Se...
Associated Press

Top US official urges WHO to address sexual misconduct

LONDON (AP) — A top U.S. health official urged the World Health Organization to address allegations reported by The Associated Press that one of its doctors repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct. “There are many of us who stand with survivors and stand with those who identify as victims and are truly committed, but also frustrated […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Free hotel breakfasts are getting bigger and better

Kimberly Button normally skips breakfast. But on vacation, the hotel breakfast buffet is a highlight. She’s drawn to the oatmeal bar, where she transforms bland grains with an array of toppings — chocolate chips, coconut flakes and berries. Sometimes she grabs fruit to take with her and nosh on throughout the day. At Disney World, […]
5 hours ago
Elon Musk departs the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House in San Francisc...
Associated Press

EU official pushes Musk for Twitter’s progress on new rules

LONDON (AP) — A top European Union official told Elon Musk that Twitter needs to make progress in preparing for a new law aimed at curbing hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content, adding pressure on the company to ensure it complies. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton and Musk held a video call on Tuesday to […]
5 hours ago
FILE - People pass by the Lebanese Central Bank, in Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. Three ...
Associated Press

Lebanon sets new exchange rate, dramatically devalues pound

BEIRUT (AP) — Three years into a crippling financial crisis, Lebanon’s Central Bank on Wednesday set a new exchange rate that effectively devalued the country’s currency by 90% but did little to bridge the gap with the soaring black market rate. The dramatic measure is meant to stabilize the free-falling Lebanese pound and eliminate the […]
5 hours ago
FILE- Adani group Chairman Gautam Adani speaks during the inauguration of the 9th Vibrant Gujarat G...
Associated Press

What is Hindenburg Research, firm accusing Adani of fraud?

NEW YORK (AP) — Hindenburg Research, the financial research firm with an explosive name and a track record of sending the stock prices of its targets tumbling, is taking on one of the world’s richest men. Hindenburg is back in the headlines after last week accusing Indian conglomerate Adani Group of “a brazen stock manipulation […]
5 hours ago
A woman uses her phone to light her way in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel ...
Associated Press

Russia focuses on eastern Ukraine for possible new offensive

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia is mustering its military might in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, local officials said Wednesday, in what Kyiv suspects is preparation for an offensive in the eastern area in coming weeks as the anniversary of Moscow’s invasion approaches. The Kremlin’s forces are expelling local residents from their homes near the […]
5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
China’s Xi visits Saudi Arabia to cement Gulf Arab ties