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China and Saudi Arabia forge closer ties after new strategic partnership signing

BEIJING – A lavish welcome ceremony, high-level bilateral discussions, and extensive investment agreements are just a few indications that relations between China and Saudi Arabia have reached a new level.

President Xi Jinping and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed an agreement on their comprehensive strategic relationship on Thursday. They also decided to meet every two years, taking turns as hosts.

Xi reviewed the guard of honour, who gave the Chinese president the most solemn welcome with traditional sword-holding etiquette, during the welcoming ceremony held by the Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud on behalf of the King on Thursday at the royal palace in the capital Riyadh.

The efforts of the two sides to improve inter-country relations were also on display during this visit. In an article published Thursday on the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh, Xi said that “China and Saudi Arabia have admired each other and conducted friendly exchanges since ancient times. The prophet Muhammad said, ‘Seek knowledge even if you have to go as far as China.’”

Until this day, there is still a mutual regard between communities. China has agreed to increase personnel exchanges, cultural and people-to-people contacts between the two sides, and to include Saudi Arabia as a group travel destination. This agreement was made public on Thursday.

According to Abdulaziz O. Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center in Saudi Arabia, who spoke to the Global Times, the relationship between China and Saudi Arabia is a good example that can be applied to other nations in the Middle East because it is based on shared interests and neither side intervenes in the other’s domestic affairs.