RIYADH: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday highlighted close security and energy ties with Gulf nations during summit meetings in the Saudi capital.
He attended summits with Saudi, Gulf and other Arab leaders, describing the talks as a historic milestone for relations with the energy-rich Middle East.
“China will continue to firmly support the GCC countries in maintaining their own security ... and build a collective security framework for the Gulf,” Xi said at the start of the China-GCC summit.
Saudi Arabia and China vowed to prioritize relations as part of their foreign policy and set a model of cooperation and solidarity for developing countries, according to a joint statement released after the Saudi-Chinese summit.
The two sides reaffirmed that they will continue to firmly support each other’s core interests, support each other in maintaining sovereignty and territorial integrity, and exert joint efforts to defend the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, rules of international law and basic principles of international relations.
The Chinese side expressed support for Saudi Arabia in maintaining its security and stability, and affirmed its opposition to any actions that would interfere in the internal affairs of the Kingdom, condemning any attacks targeting civilians and Saudi interests.
The two sides stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation through a high-level Saudi-Chinese joint committee to achieve common goals, intensify communication between the government and private sectors in the two countries, discuss economic, trade and investment opportunities, and translate them into tangible partnerships, and enhance cooperation to elevate economic and developmental ties.
In the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development Xi met leaders from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
“Gulf countries and China can achieve economic and industrial integration,” Xi told Gulf leaders, noting that the GCC has succeeded in overcoming global challenges.
Xi pledged China’s unwavering support for the Gulf countries’ security and assured them that the Asian giant will continue to import Gulf oil in large quantities.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that the summit reflected the common desire to strengthen Gulf-Chinese cooperation. He added that the establishment of a GCC-China free trade zone was also discussed.
Addressing the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, Xi described the talks as a “historic moment” in Arab-China relations.
The crown prince said that Arab countries seek to improve cooperation with China and look forward to a new phase of partnership.
King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain commended efforts by King Salman to host the three summits, citing Saudi Arabia’s strategic role in the region and world.
The three summits reflect the keenness of the GCC countries, the brotherly Arab countries, and friendly China to intensify joint cooperation and coordination in various fields “for the benefit and good of our countries and the world as a whole,” he said.
Riyadh streets were decorated with the national flags of Saudi Arabia, Gulf and Arab states as well as China.