Great will of China wows Kingdom

Updated 21 January 2016

Great will of China wows Kingdom

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China signed 14 agreements here Tuesday focused on energy, culture and industrial cooperation, and pledged to build a strategic partnership for better bilateral ties, common development and peace and security in the world.
The pledge came during wide-ranging talks between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping here at Al-Yamamah Palace.
Hailing China as a special partner, King Salman said in his welcome speech that the challenges facing the world, particularly terrorism, require the international community to unite in countering it.
“The international community should emphasize the principles established by the UN charter, particularly the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states to ensure security and peace regionally and globally. I am confident that our discussions today will be in the interest of our two countries, and will enhance efforts being made to bring peace to the region,” said King Salman, who also hosted a luncheon banquet in honor of Xi.
The king said the bilateral ties have grown in the past 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties. “I recall my visit to your country (China) in March 2014, when I had fruitful meetings that reflect on joint cooperation in various fields,” said the king.
“The Kingdom and China are seeking together stability, peace and security in the world,” said the king, who also praised Xi’s efforts in this regard.
On Wednesday, Xi is scheduled to join King Salman for a ceremony to inaugurate the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center on energy economics and policy in Riyadh. They will also open, remotely from Riyadh, the Yanbu Aramco Sinopec Refining Company Ltd. on the Kingdom’s Gulf coast.
The refinery is a joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corp. (Sinopec).
In his speech, the Chinese president thanked King Salman for his hospitality and stressed Beijing’s commitment to the partnership between the two countries. Xi also commended the measures taken by the king to stimulate development in the Kingdom.
“A total of 14 agreements including memorandums of understanding were also signed between the Kingdom and China at the palace,” said Fu Lihua, a spokeswoman of the Chinese embassy, while speaking to Arab News on Tuesday evening.
Asked about the details of the agreements, Fu said they were mainly in the fields of energy, culture and industrial cooperation. “The signing of the agreements was witnessed by King Salman and Xi together in a very candid and cordial atmosphere,” she said.
“Major pacts inked by the two sides also include an energy cooperation agreement and an accord to work together on the Silk Road Economic Belt Initiative to achieve goals of development within the framework of the initiative,” said Fu, in reference to China launching the initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (the Belt and Road Initiative).
“We hope and trust that Saudi Arabia, located at the west crossroads of the Belt and Road, will become an important participant of, contributor to and beneficiary of this initiative,” said a diplomat. Specific projects under this initiative could range from a greater role for Chinese oil-services companies in the Kingdom and other countries in the Middle East, to public works such as water and sewage treatment projects.
Saudi Arabia has been interested in increasing its investments in Chinese oil refining and other downstream assets to cater to the growing Chinese consumption of gasoline and other oil products.
The two leaders also held talks on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues including Middle East conflicts, terrorism, security cooperation, energy ties and trade and investment with the GCC as a bloc.
Asked about the other pacts endorsed by the two sides, Yao Yu, energy attaché at the Chinese Embassy, said “a strategic framework agreement was also signed between Saudi Aramco and China’s Sinopec.”
Yao said the two countries were moving ahead to work closely in the nuclear field. Saudi Arabia is China’s biggest global supplier of crude oil and its biggest regional trading partner. “In fact, a memorandum of understanding was also signed to boost cooperation in the renewable energy sector,” said Yao.

Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

Updated 27 min 37 sec ago

Huge expectations from Saudi crown prince’s Korea visit

  • The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda

SEOUL: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday to discuss wider economic ties between the two countries, according to the presidential office.
The crown prince’s visit to South Korea is the first by an heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter since then-Crown Prince Abdullah’s tour in 1998. The crown prince will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.
The two-day visit is expected to deliver key agreements with South Korea in a variety of industrial fields, including cooperation on nuclear reactor and defense technologies.
“Saudi Arabia, a key ally of South Korea, is the biggest oil supplier to our government and the largest economic partner among the Middle Eastern countries,” presidential spokeswoman Koh Min-jung told reporters.
“Both leaders are expected to discuss detailed measures to expand bilateral cooperation beyond the traditional areas of construction and energy to the sectors of information and technology, nuclear energy, green cars, health, public service and exchange of human resources.”
The crown prince and his economic advisers are scheduled to have luncheon with South Korean business leaders after his summit with President Moon, she said.
Business leaders attending the luncheon will include Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics; Chung Eui-sun, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group; Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, and Koo Kwang-mo, chairman of LG Group.
A Samsung spokesman, who declined to be named, told Arab News that his company has a package of business proposals to present to Saudi Arabia.
“We’re not sure at the moment what business elements the Kingdom wants, but we have a variety of business packages that can meet the Saudi Vision 2030 requirements, ranging from engineering, procurement and construction to information and communications technology, and artificial intelligence,” the spokesman said.
Hyundai Motor Group was cautious about revealing potential business projects with Riyadh.
“We’ll see what’s happening. We have high expectations about potential business cooperation with Saudi Arabia,” a Hyundai Motor spokesman said, while asking not to be named.
The export of South Korea’s APR-1400 nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia is high on the agenda.
Team Korea, led by the Korea Electric Power Corp., was shortlisted last year for a nuclear power plant construction project in Saudi Arabia, along with the US, China, France and Russia. The project by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy is aimed at building two nuclear power plants by 2030.


• Different South Korean companies are reportedly keen to invest in Saudi Arabia and become part of Vision 2030’s success.

• The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility.

• Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will also attend the G20 Summit next week in Osaka, Japan.

With Riyadh reportedly leaning toward the US bidder, Team Korea is considering forming a strategic consortium with the US side, according to government sources.
“The possibility of the Korea-US consortium for the Saudi project is a feasible option,” said Huh Min-ho, a researcher of Shinhan Invest Corp., referring to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval of the technical design of South Korea’s APR-1400 reactors.
“For South Korea, joining hands with the US is a feasible option to win the Saudi nuclear reactor contract, though the total order amount would be reduced,” the analyst said. “Once the Saudi project is won, more orders are expected to come from other countries such as the UK, the Czech Republic and Poland.”
South Korea already has a nuclear power footprint in in the Middle East after its construction of the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. The country recently won a five-year maintenance deal for the nuclear plant with Nawah Energy Co., the operator of the plant.
The Saudi crown prince is also interested in South Korea’s weapons development technology, according to defense sources, and is scheduled to visit the Agency for Defense Development, South Korea’s only weapons developing agency, during his stay.
“We heard the crown prince is interested in the transfer of weapons technology when his country imports foreign weapons systems,” a Defense Ministry official told Arab News.
The Saudi leader is also expected to attend a ceremony celebrating the completion of Saudi-owned S-Oil’s residue upgrading facility. S-Oil, which is wholly owned by state-run Saudi Aramco, is third-largest oil refiner in South Korea.