Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, will pay a visit to China from February 21 to 22 at the Invitation of Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang announced Friday.
During the visit, Han, also a Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, will Co-Chair the third meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia High-level Joint Committee with the Crown Prince, Geng said.
As part of a swing through Asia in which the monarch is expected to Sign an Investment package with cash strapped Pakistan will visit next thursday and Friday, and will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Han Zheng.
The visit will seek to “promote the greater development of Sino-Saudi relations” and “deepen cooperation” on China’s “Belt and Road” economic and trade diplomacy Initiative, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily press briefing.
The trip comes as the world’s top crude exporter has been investing heavily in refinery and petrochemicals projects across the globe to secure long-term buyers of its oil.
He will also make stops in Pakistan, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
The Crown Prince visits Pakistan over the weekend, with the two countries reportedly planning to sign a number of agreements. These include deals for a $10 billion oil and refining complex in Pakistan’s strategic Port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.
Gwadar figures prominently in plans for the massive multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a collection of infrastructure projects seen as a key plank in the Belt and Road initiative.
The Chinese-led initiative involves investments worth some $60 billion in projects in a range of countries.
The Crown Prince’s travels take place against the backdrop of the diplomatic crisis triggered by the brutal murder in Turkey of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The dissident journalist was dismembered after his murder October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul but his remains have yet to be found. The Heir apparent to the Gulf Kingdom’s continues to be tarnished by his alleged links to Khashoggi’s death amid new revelations he spoke of going after the writer “with a bullet”.