Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) has received China’s President Xi Jinping in Riyadh as part of a visit expected to bolster political and economic ties.
Xi was greeted by MBS on Thursday at Yamamah Palace, where the de facto ruler of the world’s biggest oil exporter is expected to sign around $30bn in agreements, according to Saudi state media.
The two leaders stood side-by-side as a brass band played their national anthems, then chatted as they walked into the palace, which is the king’s official residence and seat of the royal court.
After Xi’s arrival on Wednesday, with formation jets flying overhead, Saudi state media announced 34 investment agreements in sectors including green hydrogen, information technology, transport and construction.
The official Saudi Press Agency did not provide details but said two-way trade totaled 304 billion Saudi riyals ($80bn) in 2021 and 103 billion Saudi riyals ($27bn) in the third quarter of 2022.
State broadcaster Al Ekhbariya said another 20 agreements worth 110 billion riyals ($29.3bn) were due to be signed on Thursday.
Arab leaders also began to converge on the Saudi capital ahead of a summit with Xi, who will hold separate talks with the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before leaving on Friday.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Tunisian President Kais Saied, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan were all flying in on Thursday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia al-Sudani, Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati have also confirmed their attendance.