Saudi-China summit set to herald new era in ties

Updated 19 January 2016

Saudi-China summit set to herald new era in ties

RIYADH: The high-profile Saudi-Sino summit scheduled for Tuesday with a record participation of hundreds of Saudi and Chinese officials and businessmen will herald a new era in relationship between two of the world’s most prominent nations.
“Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman will hold summit talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday,” Chinese Ambassador Li Chengwen said on Monday.
Li said that the one-on-one talks between King Salman and Xi would focus on a range of key regional and international issues including conflicts in the Middle East, energy cooperation, trade and investment within the framework of the “Belt and Road” initiative.
The Chinese side will also discuss security and terrorism as it has expressed its willingness to strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation with Arab countries with a view to establish a longterm security cooperation mechanism.
“China will support the efforts of Arab states, including the member states of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in countering terrorism, and support their counterterrorism capacity building,” said a report released by Beijing. The envoy said that Xi would have “in-depth exchange of views with leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, on bilateral relations as well as on major international and regional issues.”
He said that the Chinese side will continue to work constructively for peace and stability in the Middle East. During his visit to Saudi Arabia, Xi will also hold separate meetings with Abdullateef Al-Zayani, GCC secretary general, and Iyad Madani, chief of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Li said that “the high-level contacts between the two countries will keep the relationship moving forward and forward.”
Ambassador Li pointed out that former Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Saudi Arabia twice. President Xi’s first foreign visits as vice president included Saudi Arabia; and King Salman also visited China in 2014 as crown prince.
“President Xi’s state visit to Saudi Arabia will be of important significance, which I think is historical,” said the ambassador, adding that the presidential visits lends new dimension to relations both bilaterally and regionally.
On commercial front, the Riyadh and Beijing have reported progressively growing relations. About five agreements will be signed during the visit of Xi, said the diplomat.
According to statistics, the two-way trade volume in 2015 amounted to over $69 billion, 230 times that of 1990 when diplomatic relations were established.


Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

Updated 9 sec ago

Comic book fans unite at Stan Lee Super Con in Riyadh

RIYADH: 

The Stan Lee Super Con kick-started at the Riyadh Front, providing a place for comic book fans to express themselves.

The conventions were divided into two parts — Anime Con and the Stan Lee Super Con. The Super Con was a comic nerd’s dream come true, bringing together everything from the Batmobile, the Delorian from “Back to the Future” and the time-traveling Tardis from “Doctor Who.”

The convention also brought together a variety of celebrities, including actors, creators and famous artists.

The comic book artist Bob Layton, best known for his work in Marvel Comics’ “Iron Man” and “Hercules” sat in a booth to give autographs to star-struck fans.

“I am looking forward to seeing Saudi Arabia very much — because of work I haven’t seen much. When I travel, I am more interested in where culture is than where it has been, especially in Saudi Arabia because this country is opening up and it is very exciting,” Layton told Arab News.

“I am very glad to be meeting so many Saudis here, since they come here to see me. Americans have a very warped perception of Muslim countries and I don’t share that because once you get to meet the people you see that we are very much alike.”

He shared his story of how he got into comics, which tells of how useful of a tool comic books can be: He learned how to read by reading comics.

“All the pictures made sense to me and as a child it made me want to understand what was in the text balloons, so I became a reader at the age of four. If they can teach a four-year-old how to read, they can teach a lot of things to a lot of people.

“Part of my achievement as a comic artist is that my work has transcended comics and became global. So, now wherever I go in the world I see that comics have become universal.”

The actor Sam J. Jones, who played the infamous “Flash Gordon” in the 1980 film, was also present.

He said he was thrilled to be in Saudi Arabia for the first time, and was deeply moved by the positive attitude of the Saudi people.

“Even before I stepped in Saudi Arabia I traveled with Saudi Airlines, and even in Los Angeles when I arrived at the ticket counter everybody was smiling, and people haven’t stopped since.

“I did the panel and met people afterward and the fans have been amazing. It is a blessing to be here in Riyadh for the first time, I am used to doing comic cons but this being my first time in Saudi Arabia is amazing and hopefully, there will be more to come.”

Melinda Jean, a cosplayer, walked among the crowd with a magnificent cape, dressed up as the popular villain Hela from “Thor: Ragnarok.” She was extremely excited to be a part of the Super Con, she said.

“I am so excited — it is my first time being in Saudi Arabia. It is so surreal that we are here, and we get to do this. I will be sharing my tips and tricks on how to become a cosplayer and get into cosplay so I will be here all weekend.”