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

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 camel racing no longer an all-male affair, says Princess Jamila

Updated 23 March 2019

Saudi camel racing no longer an all-male affair, says Princess Jamila

  • Princess Jamila’s camel will compete in a race marking the conclusion of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival
  • King Salman will attend the grand finale of the 46-day event

JEDDAH: A camel owned by a woman will compete in an official race in Saudi Arabia for the first time, a senior figure in the sport said on Friday.

Fahd bin Hithleen, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Camel Club and the newly appointed president of the International Camel Organization (ICO), said the race is part of the closing day of the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, which began on Feb. 5 and ends on March 23.

“The camel race will end this Saturday with the participation of the first female in camel racing,” Hithleen said on his official Twitter account. “I congratulate Princess Jamila Bint Abdulmajeed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz for breaking into the camel world and wish her all the success.”

The festival finale will take place in the presence of King Salman.

Princess Jamila said that camel racing is no longer exclusively the preserve of men, as the ongoing reforms in the country continue to empower Saudi women and open up new opportunities for them across the Kingdom.

The Kingdom established the ICO, the first global group of its kind for camels, on Thursday with the participation of representatives from 96 countries. Riyadh was chosen as the location for its headquarters and Hithleen was appointed to serve a five-year term as its first president.