Saudi Arabia strikes $10B China deal, talks de-radicalisation with Xi

The crown prince's trip comes amid anger in India over a deadly militant attack in Kashmir that New Delhi has blamed on Islamabad a key Riyadh ally

Saudi Arabia strikes $10B China deal, talks de-radicalisation with Xi

The visit by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was extraordinary on many counts. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman will then co-chair the third meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee.

The Crown Prince will hold wide ranging talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Touching down in Beijing on Thursday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is on the final leg of a tour of Asia aimed at building relationships and striking deals as the kingdom faces a diplomatic cold shoulder in the West following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October.

The Saudis said they "firmly supported" Beijing's efforts to keep the country secure, and opposed "interference by external forces in China's internal affairs", Xinhua added, paraphrasing remarks by the crown prince.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia signed investment agreements with Pakistan worth $20bn.

Thus far, Turkey has been the only majority Muslim country to criticize Beijing, with its Foreign Ministry this month calling the treatment of minority Uighurs "a great cause of shame for humanity" and saying it is "no longer a secret" that China has arbitrarily detained more than a million Uighurs in "concentration camps".

During the visit, a Saudi-Chinese Forum in Beijing is scheduled for Friday to promote joint economic cooperation between the two countries and consolidate economic and cultural relations to achieve the goals of sustainable development in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The prisoners thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

Aramco and China North Industries Corporation, officially abbreviated as Norinco, along with Panjin Sincen, agreed to create "the largest Sino-Foreign" joint venture on Friday.

China supports Saudi Arabia's efforts to diversify its economy and is willing to strengthen high-tech cooperation, Wang added.

Aramco vowed to supply up to 70 percent of the crude feedstock for the refinery.

"The two sides should promote counter-terrorism cooperation in the Middle East, strengthen worldwide de-extremism cooperation and prevent the spread and infiltration of extremism", Xi said. This formalised a previously announced plan to gain a stake in a 400,000-bpd refinery and petrochemicals complex in Zhoushan, south of Shanghai.

But China was not seeking to play politics in the Middle East, the widely read state-run tabloid, the Global Times, said in an editorial.

The murder sparked global indignation, with U.S. lawmakers pushing for Washington to distance itself from the crown prince, but the White House has maintained close relations with Riyadh, a major ally in the Middle East. "It has no enemies and can cooperate with all countries in the region", said the paper, published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily. "Such a partnership will be welcomed by more countries in the Middle East".

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