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

Saudi Arabia is China¡¯s largest trading partner in the region comprising the Middle East and northern Africa. It supplies 14 per cent of China¡¯s total oil imports, or 450,000 barrels a day. In the first 11 months of 2005, China imported about 20 millions tons of crude oil from Saudi Arabia.

¡°Saudi Arabia will strengthen an all-round relationship with China, more than just in energy cooperation, ¡° said Saleh Al Hegelan, ambassador of Saudi Arabia to China, in an interview with China Daily.

¡°It is the first time for a Saudi Arabian king to visit China since bilateral relationship was established in 1990. King Abdullah has chosen China as the first stop on his first official overseas tour after he took the throne in August, representing the great emphasis our country has attached to the relationship with China,¡± the ambassador said.

At the welcoming ceremony, Hu said the fact that King Abdullah had chosen China as the first destination of his first official trip outside the Middle East since ascending the throne had been noted and welcomed in Beijing.

"This will write a new chapter of friendly cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia in the new century," Hu said, who called the king "a respected and familiar old friend" of China.

King Abdullah, who is making the first visit by a Saudi leader to China since the two nations established diplomatic ties 16 years ago, also said he looked forward to stronger bilateral ties. "What makes us happy is that since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990 our two countries have had fruitful cooperation in many fields," he said.

"We hope this cooperation will develop even more in the future."
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