Saudi Arabia, China seal 15 deals

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SUCCESSFUL VISIT: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli clap after Saudi delegation members signed several important memorandums of understanding with Chinese officials in Beijing on Tuesday. (SPA)
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Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (center left) and China’s Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli (center right) witness the signing of memorandums of understanding between the two countries on Tuesday in Beijing. (SPA)
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Saudi and Chinese delegations led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (second left) and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (right) meet in Beijing on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 31 August 2016
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Saudi Arabia, China seal 15 deals

BEIJING: Saudi Arabia and China signed 15 preliminary agreements on Tuesday in sectors from energy to housing on a trip headed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at bolstering relations with a top energy customer and trade partner.
The visit is part of a broad reform drive to cut the kingdom’s reliance on oil exports and showcase Saudi Arabia as a dynamic international nation with diverse promising opportunities for global investors.
Prince Mohammed met China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Tuesday, state news agency SPA reported.
“During the meeting, the strategic relationships and future opportunities to enhance the existing partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China were reviewed,” SPA said.
Fifteen memorandums of understanding (MoU) were later signed between the two nations in different fields including oil storage, water resources, cooperation on science and technology, and cultural cooperation, SPA said.
In April, Prince Mohammed launched radical economic reforms designed to develop non-oil industries in Saudi Arabia and attract billions of dollars of foreign investment. Chinese and Japanese banks and companies are expected to play major roles.
Prince Mohammed arrived in China on Monday on the second leg of a three-day Asia tour that started in Islamabad, Pakistan. He will then visit Japan from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, meeting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
From Japan, the prince will return to China to chair Saudi Arabia’s delegation to the Sept. 4-5 summit of leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
Prince Mohammed is expected to present to the G20 his economic reform plan, which envisages state spending of around 270 billion riyals ($72 billion) in the next five years on projects to diversify the economy.
Saudi officials will also discuss energy cooperation agreements with Japan, the Saudi cabinet said last week.
Under Prince Mohammed’s economic reforms, Riyadh plans to sell a stake of less than 5 percent in national oil giant Saudi Aramco that could be worth tens of billions of dollars, and Chinese and Japanese money could prove crucial in smoothing the sale.
(Additional input from agencies)
 
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FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

Updated 23 October 2018
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FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

RIYADH: Speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh did not shy away from addressing what could otherwise have been the elephant in the room: The death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Numerous speakers had pulled out of the event over the death of the Saudi journalist in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of Saudi authorities, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Many speakers due to attend the FII — mostly those from Western organizations — had pulled out due to allegations the Saudi government was complicit in Khashoggi’s death.
But speakers at the FII on Tuesday tackled the issue head-on, calling the death “abhorrent” and promising justice. 
“These are difficult days for us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are going through a crisis, of sorts, resulting from the very regrettable and abhorrent incident that took place in Turkey,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the audience.
“Nobody in the Kingdom can justify it or explain it. From the leadership on down, we are very upset about what has happened,” he added. 
“The king has made it clear that there will be an investigation, justice and retribution to those responsible.”
The prominent Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan also remarked on the case, saying that the “terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and DNA.” 
Al-Falih said that, despite the ongoing “crisis” due to the case, the ambitious reforms that Saudi Arabia is undertaking would continue. 
“The Kingdom is in the midst of a historic transformation of unprecedented proportions, and the train has moved, and it has moved deliberately toward a transformation journey that will not be stopped,” he said. 
“Those partners who are here with us today, to continue their journey with us are certainly going to look back and find out how the lessons have been learned from the incident, but at the same time how committed the Kingdom is to its partners who stay the course.”