China and Saudi Arabia have agreed to lift their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The announcement was made after Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Xi arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday on the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. It's the first state visit by a Chinese head of state to Saudi Arabia in seven years.
RIYADH, Jan. 19, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L) holds talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (3rd R) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 19, 2016. Xi arrived here on Tuesday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to build a stable long-term energy cooperation, and make the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a win-win financing platform.
After the talks, a series of cooperation deals were also signed, covering areas such as energy, communications, environment, culture, and science and technology.
President Xi Jinping's arrival in Saudi Arabia has met with high-profile reception. The Saudi Arabia authorities sent four fighter jets to escort President Xi Jinping's plane.
Actually China is one of the biggest trading partners of Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia is China's biggest oil supplier. The economic cooperation between the two countries are mutually beneficial.
President Xi's visit also comes at a time when Saudi Arabia and Iran, two giants in the Middle East, have seen their worst relations in over a decade.
President Xi Jinping actually is the very first head of state to visit both countries, since they cut their diplomatic ties earlier this month.
According to Chinese diplomatic sources, China is not willing to take sides on this issue, and is committed to developing friendly relations with both countries to boost regional stability.
So it's very interesting to see how President Xi Jinping will strike a delicate balance between the two major countries in the Middle East.