|Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is also the deputy premier and minister of defense, in Beijing, capital of China, March 13, 2014. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Beijing on Thursday, pledging to strengthen strategic partnership of the two countries.
Xi recalled the rapid growth of bilateral ties since China and Saudi Arabia forged diplomatic relations in 1990 and the latter's assistance to the affected areas after an earthquake hit China's southwestern province of Sichuan in 2008.
Hailing Saudi Arabia as China's good friend, brother and partner in the Middle East and Gulf region, Xi said developing a bilaterally friendly relationship is China's established and long-term policy, calling on the two countries to strengthen bilateral partnership.
Xi said the two sides should maintain high-level exchanges and support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests, expressing China's support to Saudi Arabia for choosing a development path that suits its own conditions.
"Both sides should take energy cooperation as a pillar and expand partnership in aerospace and new energy to forge closer ties," Xi said.
Xi welcomed Saudi Arabia to join in building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, to promote transportation connectivity and cultural exchanges.
"China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia to accelerate the FTA talks between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and enhance cooperation in defense, security and anti-terrorism," Xi told Salman.
Salman conveyed the greetings of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to President Xi and said his visit aims to enhance the strategic partnership with China.
Saudi Arabia hopes to increase communication and cooperation with China in various fields based on mutual respect and benefit. Saudi Arabia condemns the terrorist attack in Kunming city of southwest China and expressed sympathy with the Chinese people and families of victims, Salman said.
Xi stressed that the Gulf region and Middle East situation has a global impact and all region members share responsibility for safeguarding Gulf security and stability.
China has always backed the just cause of the Palestine people and will continue to facilitate peace talks. China supports a nuclear-free Gulf and will continue to promote a long-term, comprehensive and proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, Xi said.
Political settlement is the only realistic way out for the Syria crisis and the Geneva Communique should be fully implemented, said the Chinese president.
China is delighted with the initial results in the political transition in Egypt and hopes for stability and development at an early date, Xi said.
China backs Saudi Arabia's efforts to maintain the stability of its own and the region, ready to increase coordination with Saudi Arabia for promoting regional peace and stability, Xi said.
Saudi Arabia prioritizes China's important influence in the region and appreciates its objective and just stance, Salman said, expecting China to play a constructive role in resolving the Palestine and Syria issues and achieving a nuclear-free Gulf.
Saudi Arabia is ready to enhance cooperation with China to protect peace, security and stability in the region, Salman said.
Salman is paying an official visit to China from March 13 to 16 at the invitation of Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao. Li held a welcoming ceremony for him at the Great Hall of the People.