Gulf states eye stronger ties with China

Foreign ministers of China and Saudi Arabia to discuss ‘strategic partnership’ Saudi’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud (R) meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) on December 25, 2013 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The six energy-rich Arab monarchies of the Gulf are seeking to strengthen ties with China, Gulf Cooperation Council chief

Foreign ministers of China and Saudi Arabia to discuss ‘strategic partnership’

  • Saudi’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud (R) meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) on December 25, 2013 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The six energy-rich Arab monarchies of the Gulf are seeking to strengthen ties with China, Gulf Cooperation Council chief Abdullatif al-Zayani said Wednesday after talks with the Chinese foreign minister.

Riyadh: The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council are seeking to strengthen ties with China, GCC chief Abdul Latif Al Zayani said on Wednesday after talks with the Chinese foreign minister.

Al Zayani held talks in Saudi Arabia with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and expressed “GCC interest in bolstering friendship and cooperation ties with China,” a GCC statement said.

Wang was quoted as saying that Beijing wants to “expand economic, trade and investment relations” with GCC countries and spoke of the “strategic cooperation and relations [it has] with the GCC”.

Wang arrived in Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour during which he also visit Israel, Palestine, Morocco and Algeria.

Saudi media said Wang will be discussing with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal a “strategic partnership” between Beijing and Riyadh. It did not elaborate.

Gulf states are wary of Washington’s reluctance to provide military support to Syrian rebels and for its openness towards their regional archfoe Iran, and are looking to improve ties with other nations.

They, like Western powers, fear that Iran may develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its disputed nuclear programme, which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes only.

China and the United States are among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which along with Germany, negotiated a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

The GCC — Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — has given a cautious welcome to the deal struck in November.

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