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China wants Saudi as key Belt and Road partner

China wants Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy to include construction plans for Belt and Road project

Wang Yi [image: US Department of State].
Wang Yi [image: US Department of State].

China's government wants closer ties with Saudi Arabia on the trillion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, and the kingdom's Vision 2030 strategy.

China's state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi called for "deeper synergy" between the $5tn (AED18.3tn) Belt and Road megaproject, and the Saudi Vision 2030 development strategy at a press conference in China's capital city, Beijing. 

He said China wanted to support Saudi Arabia's blueprint for building a thriving economy by exploring cooperation in numerous fields, which may include infrastructure projects supporting the Belt and Road and Vision 2030.

READ: Kuwait eyes cut of China's trillion-dollar Silk Road project

“China and Saudi Arabia should make full use of the high-level joint committee between the two countries and promote concrete cooperation in various fields,” Wang said.

HE Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, added that the country's economic diversification and industrial development roadmap was "highly consistent" with the Asian powerhouse's Belt and Road megaproject.

Al-Jubeir added that connecting the two projects would help China and Saudi Arabia strengthen cooperation in industries including energy, mining, economy and trade, investment and tourism, according to the China's government.

Belt and Road is a network of under-construction trade routes, including roads, railways, shipping terminals, pipelines and utility grids, linking central China to as far as London and Colombia. But the Asian nation is keen to strengthen ties with the Arab world. 

Earlier this year, China's government said it viewed Saudi Arabia as an "important partner" in the construction of the Belt and Road megaproject. 

And at a G20 ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in May, Al-Jubeir reportedly said Saudi Arabia was willing to work on the construction of the Belt and Road project, particually by developing infrastructure for ports and energy grids.

Interest in China's Belt and Road initiative appears to gathering some momentum in the Middle East. In May, Dubai International Financial Centre Courts (DIFC Courts) joined forces with the University of Oxford's China Centre to protect investment in the Belt and Road infrastructure project.

DIFC Courts said it wanted to create legal framework that protected investment in the project and mitigated the potential legal complexities and risks.

Kuwait, meanwhile, has expressed its interest in working on the Belt and Road project, with China reportedly keen on developing five uninhabited islands in Kuwait. 

 

 

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Construction Week - Issue 737
Apr 14, 2019