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China, Saudi Arabia forge closer relationship
(Agencies - chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2006-01-24 11:34

China and Saudi Arabia signed five agreements Monday in Beijing, including one on closer energy cooperation during a landmark visit by Saudi King Abdullah.

King Abdullah, 82, who arrived Sunday on his first trip outside the Middle East since taking the throne last August, met and held formal talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People.

China and Saudi Arabia signed five agreements yesterday, including one on increased co-operation in oil, natural gas and mineral deposits.
President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing January 23, 2006. [Xinhua]

Both sides promised to take advantage of their growing oil business to further develop a broader economic and diplomatic partnership.

President Hu and King Abdullah oversaw the signing of five agreements, including one on "oil, natural gas and mineral cooperation," and another on "economic, trade and technical cooperation", the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Agreements were also signed to "avoid dual taxation", allow for a Saudi loan to improve infrastructure in China¡¯s northwestern city of Aksu in China's oil-rich Xinjiang, and to facilitate "cooperating in vocational training". Neither side immediately provided details of the agreements, although Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal spelt out before the signing ceremonies the main interest of both nations.

"China is one of the most important markets for oil and Saudi oil is one of the most important sources of energy for China," said the prince, who is accompanying the king. Prince Saud said the energy deal would set the framework for specific energy investments, but agreements on the projects would have to be signed between the two countries' oil companies.

He suggested specific agreements could be signed soon.
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