King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz will pay a state visit to China from Jan. 22 to 24 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chinese foreign ministry announced Tuesday in Beijing.
Describing the King's visit as "very important", foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular press conference that it will be the King's first ever trip to China since the two countries established diplomatic links in 1990.
This visit will also be the first official visit that the King has ever made to another country since he came to the throne, Kong said.
"The Chinese government places great importance on this visit (by King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz)," Kong said.
During his visit to China, the King of Saudi Arabia will hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The heads of state will talk about the development of China-Saudi Arabia relations over the past 15 years and exchange views on further expanding bilateral cooperation in all fields, Kong said.
Kong said the heads of state will also discuss bilateral cooperation in the field of energy resources. But it is yet not clear whether the two sides will sign agreements in this field, he said.
The King will only visit Beijing, where he will also meet with other Chinese leaders, Kong said.
According to Kong, trade between China and Saudi Arabia has been growing rapidly in recent years, with trade volume jumping 59 percent year-on-year to 14.5 billion U.S. dollars in the first 11 months of 2005. Kong called the figure "an astonishing growth" since it is far higher than the national average of 23 percent-hike.
China imported 20.01 million tons of crude oil from Saudi Arabia during January to November last year, Kong said. Cooperation and exchanges between the two countries in such fields as culture, public health, science, technology and telecommunications are also active, he said.