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King Salman’s Asian tour seen bolstering ties with friendly countries

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (L) meets with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) at Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. (AFP)

RIYADH: King Salman’s tour of Asia has given a new dimension to bilateral relations with countries of the region, commentators said.
The tour comes at a time when the Kingdom is working keenly to diversify its economy, having launched the ambitious Vision 2030 reform plan.
Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, a senior member of the Shoura Council, told Arab News on Friday: “King Salman’s visit to the Southeast Asian countries is to sustain good relations with Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Japan and China as well as for the benefit of the Saudi economy that will help better execute the strategic plan Vision 2030.”
The king’s landmark tour will also be beneficial to the Gulf states and the wider Islamic world, Al-Khunaizi observed.
He said scores of agreements worth billions of dollars signed during the royal tour will help the Saudi economy to grow faster, and help create more jobs for Saudi graduates.
Dr. Majed Abdullah Al-Hedayan, a legal consultant and investment expert in Riyadh, said: “The Asian tour by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques comes at a time when the Kingdom is seeking to diversify its economy away from oil dominance and consolidate (the) relations of Saudi Arabia with the Muslim world around Asia.
“After King Salman was able to arrange a special relationship on the Arab and the Gulf level on a number of strategic issues, as well as (having) formed a leading Islamic alliance to counter terrorism in the region and around the world, the Asian tour of King Salman is to deepen relations between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Asian countries in terms of (the economy) as well as for security and stability.”
He further underlined that the Saudi leadership is working to diversify its strategic partnership with East Asian countries to the highest level, to enhance the position of the Kingdom as a gateway and bridge between Asia and Africa.

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