China, Saudi Arabia eye $65bn in deals

King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping inspect the guard of honor in Beijing. (Reuters)
Updated 17 March 2017
0

China, Saudi Arabia eye $65bn in deals

BEIJING: Chinese foreign affairs analysts say that a series of agreements signed by Saudi Arabia and China is a “win-win” situation for both countries.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman oversaw the signing of deals worth potentially $65 billion on the first day of a visit to Beijing on Thursday, as the world’s largest oil exporter looks to cement ties with China.
Dr. Zeng Ji, chair of the Department of International Affairs at Sun Yat-sen University, China, told Arab News the deals consist of 35 projects that include covering productive capacity, trade, space industry, new energy and education.
“So far, I have noticed that little is mentioned about oil deals,” Zeng said. “It suggests that Sino-Saudi economic cooperation becomes more pluralistic nowadays, compared with China’s traditional reliance on Saudi oil. For China, the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia ... is not only a provider of energy. The paramount need for China is to export its over-abundant productive capacity.”
Zeng added the Middle East would accelerate China’s ambitious initiative aimed at tighter economic links with countries extending to Europe and Africa through the Middle East.
He also said the “deals suggest a win-win situation in the eyes of both countries.”
Dr. Degang Sun of the Institute of Shanghai International Studies University said China and Saudi Arabia are a perfect match in potential trade and investments.
“The two sides’ economies are supplementary to each other,” Degang told Arab News.
“In recent years, China put forward the ‘One Belt and One Road Initiative’ and the Saudi government put forward Vision 2030 in 2016. The two sides’ development strategies are compatible with each other. China perceives Saudi Arabia as the pivotal state in implementing its ‘One Belt and One Road,’ and China’s investment in and trade with Saudi Arabia will enhance the diversification and industrialization of the Saudi economy in the next decade.”
He said Saudi Arabia “looking east” and China “looking west” will enhance their strategic partnership.
Few other details were given about the 14 memoranda of understanding (MoU) that were signed on Thursday.
Besides the MoUs agreed between the two governments, Saudi and Chinese companies signed 21 deals, ranging from exploring investments in oil and petrochemical plants to e-commerce and co-operating in renewable energy markets.


Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

Updated 23 min 57 sec ago
0

Saudi MERS outbreaks killed 23 over four months: WHO

  • The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia
  • The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease

GENEVA: Outbreaks of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) killed 23 people in Saudi Arabia between Jan. 21 and May 31 this year, the World Health Organization said on Monday.
The deaths were among 75 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the period, the WHO said, and take the total number of deaths from the disease to 790 since it was first diagnosed in humans in 2012.
The latest figures take the number of confirmed cases to 2,220 since September 2012, including 1,844 from Saudi Arabia.
One outbreak in February hit a private hospital in Hafer Albatin region, where the patient passed the disease to three health workers. There was another cluster of six cases in a hospital in Riyadh in the same month, although no health care workers were infected.
Two other clusters affected households in Jeddah and Najran.
MERS-CoV is a member of a virus family ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It appears to have emerged in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012, although it has been traced in camels, the source of the infection, back to at least 1983.
The disease is hard to spot, partly because it often infects people with an underlying condition such as diabetes, renal failure or chronic lung disease.
But it kills one in three sufferers, and hospital workers are at risk unless extreme caution is taken to identify MERS sufferers early and to protect health care workers from infection via airborne droplets such as from coughs and sneezes.
Susceptible people should avoid contact with suspected cases and with camels, and anyone who has contact with animals should wash their hands before and afterwards, the WHO said. Everyone should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating undercooked meat.
Three MERS cases have been reported this year outside Saudi Arabia. Oman and the United Arab Emirates each reported a case, while in Malaysia a man fell ill after drinking unpasteurised camel milk during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.