China says ties with Saudi Arabia a priority in its Middle East diplomacy

Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Wang Yi

ISTANBUL:  China has “always given priority” to its relations with Saudi Arabia in its diplomacy in the Middle East, according to the country’s foreign minister.

“China is willing to be Saudi Arabia’s long-term, reliable and stable good friend and partner,” Wang Yi told his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in a phone call on Sunday evening.

“In the face of the volatile international situation, China and Saudi Arabia need to maintain close strategic communication, which is an inherent part of the China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership.”

He said relations between the two countries have developed steadily and Beijing wants to “push bilateral relations to a higher and deeper level,” read a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“China appreciates Saudi Arabia’s firm standing with China on issues concerning China’s core interests,” Wang said.

“China will, as always, firmly support Saudi Arabia in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and stability, and firmly oppose any interference in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs.”

Promising to “actively participate” in the Middle East nation’s major development projects, he said Beijing is ready to work with Riyadh “to further synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

On the Iran nuclear issue, Wang conveyed that China always “upholds an objective and just position … and is committed to upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and safeguarding security and stability in the Middle East and the Gulf region without any selfish interests or geopolitical considerations.”

“China understands and supports the legitimate concerns of Saudi Arabia in safeguarding its national security,” he asserted, adding that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an “important achievement of multilateralism.”

“China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the negotiations on resuming the implementation of the JCPOA,” he added.

The Saudi foreign minister said Saudi Arabia regards “China as a truly credible strategic partner.”

“Saudi Arabia also firmly opposes any interference in China’s internal affairs, which is a principle that Saudi Arabia has always upheld,” he told Wang.

He said Riyadh “attaches importance to China’s unique role on the Iranian nuclear issue and expects China to play an important role in promoting the resumption of the JCPOA and the comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.”-AA


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