RIYADH — Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, will visit China and Japan early next week within efforts to boost bilateral ties with the two economic giants.
From China Prince Muhammad will proceed to Japan and come back to Beijing to chair the Kingdom’s delegation to the G-20 meeting. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 will figure prominently during Prince Muhammad’s meeting with economists in the two countries.
The visit to Beijing and Tokyo is within the Kingdom’s efforts to bolster ties with the two countries to fight terrorism and reinforce international peace and security. The visit comes after a Cabinet session this week delegated several ministers to discuss with the Chinese side a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the energy sector and an initial cooperation memorandum in the field of crude storage.
Discussions with Japan for an MoU for cooperating in the energy sector were also approved by the Cabinet.
During a recent visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Riyadh, the two countries signed 14 agreements and memorandums of understanding to further enhance bilateral cooperation in several fields including productive energy, science and technology, navigation by satellites, industry, renewable energy, the establishment of a reactor and many other areas.
A framework agreement for strategic cooperation was signed between Saudi Aramco Company and the Chinese National Company for Petrochemicals.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and China dates back to 1939 and in 1946, the two countries signed a friendship treaty.
By the end of the 1970s, the Chinese pilgrims started to come to the Kingdom for Haj and Umrah and in 1990, the two countries signed a MoU and a pact for political partnership.
In 2014, the volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached $ 69.1 billion. The Kingdom’s exports to China reached $48.5 billion against imports of $20.6 billion.
In the same year, the Kingdom exported 49.67 million barrels of oil to China.
Relations between Riyadh and Tokyo, based on mutual respect, have been continuously boosted during the past 50 years.
In 1957, the Kingdom granted a franchise to a Japanese company to dig for oil and in 1971 the ties were further enhanced by King Faisal’s visit to Tokyo. Crown Prince of Japan visited the Kingdom in 1981 and in 1998, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd made a state visit to Tokyo.
According to official statistics, Japan occupies second place in the list of the Kingdom’s most important trade partners.
The two countries have 74 joint venture projects in the Kingdom at the capital of SR67.4 billion.