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President Xi leaves for visits to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran


01-19-2016 10:26 BJT

Full coverage: President Xi Visits Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has left Beijing for his first state visits of the year.  His first stop is Saudi Arabia, followed by Egypt and Iran. 

Before his departure, President Xi published an article on Saudi newspaper Alriyadh, saying the two nations should expand their bilateral trade volume.

He also called for the establishment of a China-Saudi energy cooperation community, and intensifying pragmatic cooperation in fields such as infrastructure, investment and high technology.

He says China appreciates Saudi Arabia joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member and that the two will work together to push the China-GCC Free Trade Agreement talks.

He also said China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia to promote regional stability and inter-connectivity, through the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

The Chinese President vows to beef up people-to-people exchanges of all levels, and encouraged Saudis to visit China.

Responding to the article, Saudi experts say developing bilateral cooperation will benefit both countries, as well as the whole region. 

"Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned in his article that Saudi Arabia is the first Arab country he's visiting since took office. It has great significance to Saudi Arabia and indicates that China pays great attention to the ties with Saudi Arabia," said Abdul Rahman Murshed, political columnist.

"And Saudi Arabia will also cherish the good relationship with China. Over the past 12 years, the trade volume between China and Saudi Arabia has exceeded 450 billion US dollars, a remarkable figure. And the two sides will deepen cooperation and promote common prosperity in the following years."

"China holds strong confidence in politics, economy and military matters. China's efforts in the Middle East display its important role in supporting humanitarianism, as well as its will to ease the regional tensions and crises," said Nayef Hamra, journalist, Al Riyadh Newspaper.

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