Saudi crown prince calls China’s Xi following Iran, energy deals
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday. The call is another sign that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and China is strengthening after the compromise arrangement between Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as major energy deals.
The two leaders discussed bilateral relations and ways to strengthen cooperation. Prince Mohammed also expressed “Saudi Arabia’s gratitude for China’s initiative to support the development of good neighborly relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” according to a statement from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Xi also praised Saudi Arabia’s role in developing China’s relations with the Gulf and Middle East Cooperation Council, according to the statement.
Why it’s important: The call was the first between the two leaders since China broke the deal by which Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to resume relations. The rapprochement deal was a major event for the region, since the kingdom and the Islamic Republic are geopolitical enemies. Although the reconciliation talks were first mediated by Iraq, the fact that China settled the final deal showed the growing influence of the Asian country in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s relationship with China is rapidly strengthening, especially in energy. Construction on the Saudi Aramco refinery in northeastern China is expected to begin in the second quarter, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday. Aramco also announced on Monday that it had acquired a 10% stake in Rongsheng Petrochemical Co Ltd., according to Reuters.
Xi visited Saudi Arabia in December. The trip resulted in the signing of more than 40 agreements between Saudi Arabian and Chinese entities on energy, technology and more.
More information: Saudi Arabia was China’s main oil supplier in 2022, but Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia in the first two months of this year.