China, Saudi Arabia consider deals worth about $65 billion


BEIJING (Reuters) – China and Saudi Arabia on Thursday signed memorandums of understanding and letters of intent potentially worth about $65 billion (53 billion pounds) during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Beijing, a senior Chinese diplomat said.

Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said the agreements involved investment, energy, space and other areas, but did not give details.

The octogenarian monarch, who has overseen the launch of an ambitious economic reform plan since his accession two years ago, is on a month-long Asian tour. The visits to countries that are some of world’s fastest growing importers of Saudi oil aim to promote investment opportunities in the kingdom, including the sale of a stake in its giant state firm Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Arabia has sought to boost oil sales to China, the world’s second-largest oil market, after losing market share to Russia last year, by working mostly with China’s top three state oil firms.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Salman his visit showed the importance he attached to relations with China.

“This visit will push forward and continue to improve the quality of our relations and bear new fruit,” Xi said.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Bill Tarrant)

(THE STAR)

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