Royal visit to Japan and China will lend new dimension to ties

Updated 31 August 2016
0

Royal visit to Japan and China will lend new dimension to ties

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s East Asia policy is about to receive a significant push, when Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman undertakes visits to China and Japan this week.
Prince Mohammed, who is also minister of defense and chief of the influential Council of Economic and Development Affairs, plans to visit China on Aug. 29-31 and Japan for four days.
From Japan, Prince Mohammed will return to China to chair the Kingdom’s delegation to the Sept. 4-5 summit of G20 leaders in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, said a royal court statement, Sunday.
The deputy crown prince is likely to present to the G20 his economic reform plan, which envisages state spending of around SR270 billion in the next five years on projects to diversify the Saudi economy.
Speaking on the occasion of the visit of Prince Mohammed to Japan, Setsuo Ohmori, charge d’affaires at the Japanese embassy, said: “We would like to extend our wholehearted welcome to Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed… he is well-known in Japan as he has launched a wide range of initiatives to bring about reforms in the Kingdom.”

This visit should be a good opportunity for Japanese leaders and businessmen to look to Saudi Vision 2030, he added.
Ohmori said that “the Kingdom and Japan would agree upon renewal of economic cooperation in different fields, such as energy, industrial development, promotion of small and medium enterprises among others.”
The visit of Prince Mohammed to Tokyo is also expected to pave the way for diversification of the bilateral ties including security cooperation and cultural exchanges, he said.
Discussions with Japan for an MOU for cooperation in the energy sector is likely to be on agenda as it was recently approved by the Saudi cabinet, according to an SPA report.
Japan, which imports about 1.2 million barrels a day, and China, about 1 million barrels a day, are not only major energy customers of Saudi Arabia but also partners on a variety of energy-related joint ventures and partnerships.
In fact, Saudi Aramco continues to seek investment in Asian refineries in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam as well as China.
On several occasions in the past, China and Saudi Arabia have discussed growth prospects and areas of cooperation and found mutual interests in crude oil storage, logistics, infrastructure, industrial development, mining, technology, energy, renewables and sovereign wealth funds.
According to a Reuters report, Saudi Arabia plans to discuss energy cooperation agreements with China and Japan.
The report has referred to a decision made by the Saudi cabinet last Monday.
The Cabinet has approved to delegate a number of ministers to discuss with the Chinese side the following projects: a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the energy sector; an initial cooperation memorandum in the field of crude storage, said the report.
Referring to the visit of Prince Mohammed to China, Lu Kang, a spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that “at the invitation of Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of the State Council, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit China from Aug. 29 to Aug. 31 and join Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli for the first meeting of the high-level committee between governments of China and Saudi Arabia.”
Prince Mohammed will also attend the 11th G20 Summit, he added.
On the expanding energy cooperation between the Kingdom and Asia, a report said that Saudi Arabia has traditionally accounted for most of the crude imports by Asia, the world’s biggest oil-consuming region.
China and Japan are the front runners in term of oil consumption.
But the Kingdom is keen to diversify its relations with these two major countries in non-oil sector within the framework of the Saudi Vision 2030.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
0

Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.