Saudi crown prince to visit China

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit China next week, Beijing’s foreign ministry said on Friday, as part of a swing through Asia in which the monarch is expected to sign an investment package with Pakistan.

The Saudi Arabian leader will visit next Thursday and Friday and will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Han Zheng.

The visit will seek to “promote the greater development of Sino-Saudi relations” and “deepen cooperation” on China’s “Belt and Road” economic and trade diplomacy initiative, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily press briefing.

The trip comes as the world’s top crude exporter has been investing heavily in refinery and petrochemicals projects across the globe to secure long-term buyers of its oil. He will also make stops in Pakistan, India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The crown prince visits Islamabad over the weekend, with the two countries planning to sign a number of agreements. These include deals for a $10 billion oil and refining complex in Gwadar.

Gwadar figures prominently in plans for the massive multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of infrastructure projects seen as a key plank in the Belt and Road initiative.

The Chinese-led initiative involves investments worth some $60bn in projects in a range of countries.

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