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Chinese President Xi Jinping concludes three-nation tour in Middle East

By Tajuddin
In WORLD NEWS
Jan 25th, 2016
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Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud inaugurate the operation of the Yasref oil refinery, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and China's Sinopec in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 20, 2016. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud inaugurate the operation of the Yasref oil refinery, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and China’s Sinopec in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 20, 2016. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

Beijing , China ( Xinhua + DIPLOMAT.SO) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has returned to Beijing after completing his three-nation tour of the Middle East.

President Xi Jinping’s first foreign tour of the new year brought him to three countries in five days.

Saudi Arabia — on the Gulf peninsula — would be the first leg of the tour, then onto Egypt in North Africa, before stopping in Iran on the way back to China.

President Xi’s visits have cemented political trust and strengthened economic links with these countries.

In Saudi Arabia, President Xi and King Salman upgraded their countries’ relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Saudi Arabia is China’s biggest oil supplier, and President Xi attended the opening ceremony of the joint venture Yasref oil refinery — China’s largest investment project in the region.

Xi’s time in Egypt coincided with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their bilateral ties. The two sides signed a five-year outlining document to further advance their relationship.

At the headquarters of the Arab League in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, he also delivered a speech outlining China’s policy in the Middle East.

“China will cooperate with Arab countries and take steps to improve production capacities and strengthen industrial production in the Middle East. We will help promote development in the industrial and financial sectors with exclusive loans worth 15 billion US dollars. It will be used in collaborative projects in production and infrastructure within the region. We will also offer business lending worth 10 billion US dollars to Middle East countries,” Xi said.

“Xi Jinping’s speech is very impressive. He made it clear that China does not want to refill the power vacuum. China calls for relevant parties to engage in peaceful dialogue. Development, peace and stability are the most outstanding signals President sent to the outside nations, especially to the people of the countries in the Middle East,” Li Guofu, director of Middel East Dept., CIIS, said.

In Tehran, Iran and China underscored the need for cooperation in the areas of energy, interconnectivity, industrial capacity and finance.

Seventeen agreements were signed, including a Memorandum of Understanding on jointly pursuing the Belt and Road initiative.

“We linked our national development strategy with the three countries within the framework of the One Belt-One Road initiative, as well as capacity production cooperation. Those three countries are rich in resources, and have huge markets, while China has technology and equipment. And both sides’ economies are highly complementary,” Li said.

The next ten years are a crucial period for development in China and the Middle East. It’s a time to tap into the Silk Road Spirit, promote exchanges and advocate dialogue and peace.

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