Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a "new era" in the China-Saudi relationship after meeting Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, as the two leaders signed partnership deals in Riyadh.
What Happened: Xi, in a piece published in Saudi Arabia's state media, wrote, "The visit will carry forward our traditional friendship and usher in a new era in China's relations with the Arab world, with Arab states of the Gulf and with Saudi Arabia."
The Chinese president is currently on a trip to Riyadh as he eyes strengthening ties with the Gulf nation amid souring US-Saudi relations.
Xi's plane was ceremoniously escorted by Saudi Arabian jets before he landed on Wednesday evening. Upon landing, Prince Mohammed rolled out a red carpet for him at a royal palace and a guard of honor before Thursday’s meeting.
Experts believe Xi's trip will allow China and Saudi to showcase their deepening ties and highlight just how far the U.S.-Saudi relations have sunk.
The U.S. said it would observe the visit, which comes months after President Joe Biden's visit to the Gulf nation, where he told the leaders that the U.S. would not leave a "vacuum" in the region for China, Russia, and Iran to fill.
"We are mindful of the influence that China is trying to grow around the world," said John Kirby, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, reported Reuters.
"The Middle East is certainly one of those regions where they want to deepen their level of influence," he added.
Meanwhile, Chinese and Saudi media reported that the two leaders signed a strategic partnership agreement that would see them meet every two years. They also inked 34 investment deals in technology and energy sectors, including a memorandum of understanding between Huawei and Saudi to establish 10 gigabits-per-second-speed mobile internet and a cloud-computing facility.
© 2023 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.