CHINA / National

Energy, trade deals inked as Hu visits Saudi
Updated: 2006-04-23 09:27

RIYADH - China and Saudi Arabia signed energy and trade deals on the first day of a visit by President Hu Jintao to the oil-rich kingdom focusing on economic and energy cooperation.

President Hu Jintao and Emir Saud al-Thn are at a welcoming ceremony in Riyadh April 22, 2006. [Xinhua]
Hu also discussed a proposed 5.2-billion-dollar energy venture in China with officials of Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC.

Hu's visit, which will take him to the headquarters of state oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco, comes just three months after Saudi King Abdullah went to China.

The trip underlines the fast growing ties between the two countries as Beijing looks for oil to fuel its growth and Riyadh forges partnerships with Asian powers.

Hu and Abdullah presided over the signing of a series of cooperation agreements following the Chinese president's arrival Saturday from the United States.

"They included a framework cooperation agreement in the energy field between Sinopec and Saudi Aramco," a Chinese official said.

The deal provides for strengthened cooperation in gas exploration and possible cooperation in oil exploration between China's Sinopec and Aramco, the official said.

Sinopec is already drilling for gas in the Saudi desert and building a refinery with Aramco in the Chinese province of Fujian. Another joint refinery venture is planned in Qingdao city.

The two sides also signed a security agreement and accords on cooperation in health and youth affairs, the official said.

The Saudi state SPA news agency reported that the two sides also inked a "contract on defense systems."No details on the contract were immediately available.

Hu discussed a proposed Saudi-Chinese venture to build a refinery and petrochemical complex in China with officials of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, SABIC chairman Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Thunayan al-Saud told reporters.

Under the proposed venture, valued at 5.2 billion dollars, SABIC would build the petrochemical complex while its Chinese partner, Dalian Shide, would build the refinery, Saud said.
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