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Saudi crown prince arrives in China

February 22, 2019

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BEIJING: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Beijing on Thursday as the monarch aims to seal partnerships on a high-profile Asia tour following a diplomatic crisis over a journalist’s brutal murder.

Mohammed is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on his two-day trip to the Chinese capital following visits to Pakistan and India.

The tour has allowed him to show that Riyadh still has allies after the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi — a fierce critic of Mohammed — at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul tarnished the image of the kingdom and the prince.

The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road global trade infrastructure initiative will be on the agenda, as the two countries look to improve their economic ties.

“Saudi Arabia has a lot of capital that needs to find profitable places to be deployed,” Saudi energy and industry minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih told China’s official Xinhua news agency.

“China is a great place to invest with a huge market and an improving environment,” he said.

The two countries will sign agreements and memorandums of understanding in the energy, investment, transport and technology fields, said the Saudi ambassador to China Turki bin Mohammed Al-Madi, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2019