Saudi Defense Minister to Visit China

Saudi Defense Minister Sultan Ibn Abdul-Aziz will pay an official visit to China on October 11-17, the official SPA news agency reported late Sunday.

According to a statement issued by the Saudi Royal Court, Sultan, also the kingdom's second deputy prime minister, will meet with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other senior Chinese officials on issues of common interests, especially the situation in the Gulf region and the Middle East.

The visit will boost bilateral ties between China and Saudi Arabia and enhance their cooperation in military, oil and economic fields.

Saudi Arabia and China established diplomatic ties in 1990 and Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Saudi Arabia last November.

Bilateral trade has grown since 1995 and reached 6.4 billion riyals (US$1.7 billion) in 1998.

Saudi Arabia is currently China's largest trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa. China mainly exports textiles and electronics to the kingdom, while Saudi Arabia exports oil and oil-related products to China.

The minister's two-week-long Asian tour will also take him to South Korea, Malaysia and Kazakhstan.

People's Daily Online ---