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Chinese president's visit boosts ties with Saudi Arabia, GCC
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07:58, February 12, 2009

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Chinese President Hu Jintao continued his state visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday with a tour of a plant constructed by a Chinese company and a scheduled meeting with the chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In the morning, Hu paid a visit to a plant of the Riyadh Cement Company, which was constructed by China's Sinoma International Engineering Co. Ltd.

Hu was warmly greeted by workers and staff members of the company as he arrived at the plant in Al Mazahimiyah, about 75 km southwest of Riyadh.

The president was briefed on the operations of the plant, and toured its central controlling room.

Later, the Chinese leader visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, where a group of Chinese scientists are working on a project studying the gene of dates.

"The project is a symbol of cooperation between the two countries in the sector of science and technology," an official in Hu's delegation, said.


Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 11, 2009. Hu is in Saudi Arabia for a state visit.(Xinhua/Ju Peng)


Following Tuesday's talks with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, President Hu's scheduled meeting with GCC Secretary General Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah will focus on expanding China's cooperation with the six-member group, Chinese diplomats said.

Hu's two-day visit to Saudi Arabia will not only boost China's ties with the gulf country, but also with other GCC members, analysts said.

He arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday on "a journey of friendship and cooperation " with Saudi Arabia and four African countries -- Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius.

Hours after his arrival, Hu had talks with King Abdullah on a wide range of issues. They exchanged views on deepening the strategic friendly ties between China and Saudi Arabia, and how to address the global financial crisis.

During the talks, Hu proposed that the two countries maintain high-level visits, establish a high-level consultation mechanism, take advantage of their own resources and markets, promote an all-round energy partnership and expand two-way investment.

Saudi Arabia is now China's largest trading partner in West Asia, with two-way trade hitting 41.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.

Hu also suggested greater scope and scale in trade cooperation, and enhanced communication and consultations on important international and regional issues.

As Saudi Arabia is an important member of the GCC, Hu, in the talks, called for stronger cooperation between China and the six-member group.

The king agreed to boost ties with China and said his country would like to seek stronger cooperation in trade, economic and other fields with China.

Hu and King Abdullah agreed to keep closer communications on reforming the world financial system, particularly on the G-20 financial summit to be held in London in April.

In a written statement issued upon his arrival on Tuesday, Hu expressed his belief that with the joint efforts of China and Saudi Arabia, his visit would be "a complete success."

In recent years, friendship between China and GCC members has also witnessed comprehensive development. Bilateral trade between the GCC and China has been on the rise, with the GCC having become China's eighth largest trading partner.

According to official statistics, the bilateral trade volume between the GCC and China in 2007 was 58 billion U.S. dollars, with Chinese imports from GCC members amounting to 30.3 billion U.S. dollars and exports, 27.7 billion dollars.

The GCC, established in 1981 and consisting of six Arab countries -- Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- plays an important role in maintaining peace and stability in the Gulf region, boosting regional economic development, as well as contributing to international energy markets.

President Hu's talks with the GCC secretary-general will promote the collective cooperation between China and the GCC, Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Yang Honglin, said.

Also on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with his Saudi counterpart Saud Bin al-Faisal Bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud, and exchanged views with him on the situation in the Middle East region and international issues of common concern.

Source: Xinhua

http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2009-02/12/content_191212.htm



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