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China hopes to create free trade zone with Persian Gulf states

January 20, 8:41 UTC+3 AL KUWAIT
Chinese President Xi Jinping in currently on a three-nation tour of the Middle East
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 Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (R) meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

© EPA/SAUDI PRESS AGENCY / HANDOUT

AL KUWAIT, January 20. /TASS/. Beijing expects to set up a free trade zone with the Persian Gulf states, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday in Riyadh, the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East.

"We welcome the resumption of negotiations between China and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf on creating the free trade zone. We are very glad that the talks have significantly developed and hope that the free trade zone will be established soon," the Chinese leader said at the meeting with the secretary general of the Council, Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani.

Xi Jinping named among the important areas of China’s economic cooperation with the countries of the region the infrastructure construction, energy sector, including nuclear power, space exploration, communications, finances and investments. He said China is set to become a stable and reliable market of energy resources for the Gulf states on a long-term basis.

"We need to raise the cooperation level in the security sphere and coordinate positions on regional and international issues," the Chinese president said.

During his five-day tour to the Middle East, which will last until January 23, the Chinese leader is also due to visit Egypt and Iran. Experts believe the visit to the key countries of the Middle East is a serious bid to expand China’s geopolitical presence in this region.

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