China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’

Chinese Ambassador Li Huaxin
Updated 11 May 2017

China seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China could work together and link Saudi Vision 2030 and China’s “One Belt One Road Initiative” for the benefit of both countries, said Ambassador Li Huaxin following a press conference recently at the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.
“If we connect them together, it will create very good opportunities for both sides and not just the two sides, even other sides will benefit from this connection,” he said.
“I can tell you that different government bodies and ministries met to discuss it; they already have some specific projects in this field and hope this will come true very soon.”
Saudi Vision 2030 aims to diversify revenue sources and develop a knowledge-based economy while the “One Belt One Road Initiative” aims to create the largest economic corridor in the world.
“We think Vision 2030 is a sustainable development strategy by the Kingdom and offers a good chance for Chinese companies to participate to work together to benefit both sides,” Li said.
At the press conference, the ambassador said the “Belt and Road Forum” for international cooperation will be held next week on May 14 and 15 in Beijing.
The forum aims to build a more open and effective international platform for cooperation and partnership. The envoy said that China has invited leaders of nearly 20 countries to attend the forum to discuss how to take this initiative forward in the future.
He said the Kingdom has also been invited, but since King Salman visited China in March, Khalid Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources is going to attend the forum instead with a delegation including senior officials and businessmen.
He said Al-Falih will be speaking at a session, adding: “I think it is a good opportunity to share his ideas at this important forum, especially how to build this initiative in the future.”
President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the forum, he added.
The forum has been designed to identify cooperation directions, push forward the implementation of projects and improve supporting systems.
The Belt and Road comprises the land-based Silk Road economic belt and the 21st-century maritime Silk Road, which were put forward for the first time by President Xi in September and October 2013 in his subsequent state visits to Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

Updated 47 min 46 sec ago

Joint Incidents Assessment Team 'abides by transparency' in Yemen

  • JIAT spokesman said the team is transparent in the way it announces its results for incidents in Yemen

RIYADH: The spokesman of the Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) in Yemen, legal consultant Mansour Bin Ahmed Al-Mansour, has stressed that the team abides by transparency in announcing the results of engagement in Yemen.

Al-Mansour was speaking on Tuesday at a press conference at King Salman Air Base in Riyadh assessing  incidents. 

The cases included an incident in Malh Town where Human Rights on Yemen stated that on Feb. 18, 2016, during the intensity of combat, a family tried to leave and Coalition Forces targeted the vehicle, causing the death of nine family members and their relatives, injuring three.

JIAT investigations revealed that the target was located 1,600 meters from the coordinate given by the National Commission, and after reviewing the daily mission schedule, JIAT found that there was no air mission on the village of Malh. 

It was also claimed that the Coalition Air Forces on Nov. 10, 2017 targeted the ministry of defense and the fall of a missile on Alsa’adi neighborhood next to the ministry injured 23 civilians. JIAT found that there was a gathering of high-level Houthi leaders inside the building so considered it a legitimate military target. 

On Feb 2, 2018 an airstrike on a target 500 meters away from the warehouse of the UNHCR in Sa’dah city caused damage to the warehouse and injured the guard. JIAT found that the Coalition Air Forces targeted a legitimate military target (a leader from the Houthi armed militia). 

Coalition Forces on March 31, 2015 targeted the national cement factory in Lahj, causing the death of at least 10 people and injuring at least 13 others. JIAT found that the target was 360 meters away from generators and the production line, and was not aimed at the operational infrastructure. JIAT found that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the weapons, ammunition warehouse and AAA inside the factory were in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Al-Mansour announced the findings of investigations into the Radfan water factory north of Lahj governorate. JIAT found that intelligence stated that it was used for weapons storage and as a meeting place for hostile elements and was considered a legitimate military target.

JIAT looked at a High Commissioner for Human Rights report that stated that on Aug. 7, 2016, Coalition Forces carried out two airstrikes on a residential and commercial building in Sana’a, causing the death of 16 civilians including seven children and a woman, and injuring 24 others. JIAT found that Coalition Forces did not target the buildings and confirmed that the procedures of the coalition in targeting the truck were in accordance with international humanitarian law. 

Human Rights Watch stated that on Feb. 14, 2016, Coalition Air Forces targeted the Middle East Tailoring and Embroidery Factory in Sana’a city, causing the death of one laborer and injuring three others. 

JIAT found that on Feb. 13, 2016, intelligence received by the Coalition Forces indicated there were meetings of Houthi armed leaders in a hanger in Sana’a that had been used as an embroidery factory before being controlled by the militia.

Regarding reports by international organizations about a civilian boat being attacked by a military ship on March 16, 2017, the boat arrived about 30 nautical miles from Alhudaydah port and was intercepted by a military ship that claimed to belong to the Coalition Forces and opened fire. Passengers signaled that they were civilians but the ship opened fire with a submachine gun, and a helicopter took off from the attacking ship and opened fire, causing the death of 33 people, injuring 29. 

JIAT found Coalition Forces did not target the refugee boat for several reasons, including that the shooting on the boat was horizontal, making it impossible for it to come from a helicopter, and the size of the weapon used showed the marks of small-caliber fire, not medium or large caliber.