Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Saudi king cancels Maldives visit over swine flu fears

Saudi king cancels Maldives visit over swine flu fears

China's state-owned Sinopec Group and Saudi Basic Industries Corp signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Beijing on Thursday to look into opportunities for cooperation in both countries, Sinopec said on its website.

Asian countries are vital importers of Saudi oil, and the country wants to boost sales to China.

"King Salman's Asia trip occurs against the backdrop that USA global dominance has shown signs of declining amid America's gradual withdrawal from the Middle East and China has become increasingly active in the region", Li said. Al-Meleihi noted that there had been a growing Chinese interest in Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO) ahead of King Salman's visit to Asia.

Cooperation is also advancing in the fields of energy production, satellites, sciences, technology, nuclear energy, renewable energy, the financial sector and other emerging fields.

Aramco said in written statements the MoU was for the development of refinery and chemical facilities. The state oil giant also signed an MOU with Aerosun Corp for the manufacture of thermoplastic pipes and components.

China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.

He said that more than 500 Saudi and Chinese businessmen attended the forum held in conjunction with Salman's visit. He noted that Saudi-Chinese trade relationship has increased gradually over the years and the Kingdom has regained its position as the largest supplier of crude oil to China, citing data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

"This visit will push forward and continue to improve the quality of our relations and bear new fruit", Mr Xi said in comments in front of reporters. The three-day Chinese stop reciprocates Xi's visit to Riyadh a year ago to shore up China's sphere of influence in the middle east.

"China does not take sides and that is appreciated", said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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