RIYADH, Jan. 19, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 19, 2016. Xi arrived here on Tuesday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
RIYADH, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Tuesday with Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, hailing the tie-lifting between China and Saudi Arabia as an irresistible trend.
Xi told Salman that the elevation of bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which the president and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud jointly announced in a statement earlier in the day, represents a new phase in the relations between the two countries.
He also said the Chinese side is willing to expand the scale of oil trade between the two countries, and discuss and promote bilateral cooperation in areas of new energy, clean energy, nuclear energy and security.
Xi said that Saudi Arabia stands at a key junction along the "Belt and Road", that the two countries should discuss aligning their development strategies, and that they should actively participate in the interconnectivity and intercommunication in the Middle East and the Gulf region.
Xi said the situation in the Middle East has global impacts, and the Chinese side supports the exploration efforts by regional countries in finding development paths that suit their own domestic situations, and calls for more consultation and coordination among countries in the region to build a Middle East with lasting peace, stability and prosperity.
Salman welcomed Xi's historic visit to Saudi Arabia, acknowledging that the two sides share similar position on important global issues and have wide-ranging common interests.
He said the Saudi side is willing to enhance mutual political support with China, deepen cooperation in commerce and trade, energy and security.
Saudi Arabia is willing to participate in building interconnectivity and intercommunication in the region under the frame work of the "Belt and Road" initiative and hopes to become as a vital corridor in China-Africa economic cooperation, Salman said.
The prince also expressed his country's willingness to strengthen coordination with China in achieving regional peace and stability.
Xi arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier Tuesday, the first leg of his three-nation tour to the Middle East that will also cover Egypt and Iran, as the world's second-largest economy seeks closer political and economic ties with the region.