BEIJING: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman arrived in China on Thursday on the latest stop of a sweep through Asia that aims to expand the kingdom's influence on the continent.
Prince Mohammad touched down in the morning following earlier visits to India and Pakistan.
He's due to meet officials, including the Chinese president and ruling Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping, on Friday, highlighting Saudi Arabia's importance as one of China's top oil suppliers and a market for its exports, including military drones.
Prince Mohammad's visit to Beijing follows one earlier this week by a high-powered delegation from Saudi Arabia's chief strategic rival Iran. At a meeting Wednesday, Xi told Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani that "China's resolve to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership with Iran will remain unchanged," regardless of the evolving international situation, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.
Commenting Wednesday on the crown prince's visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said recent years have "seen a positive momentum in our cooperation with fruitful outcomes in various areas such as infrastructure and space satellites."
"We hope that through this visit we will enhance our relations enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation ... and inject momentum into our bilateral relations," Geng said.
Prince Mohammed is due to visit South Korea after Beijing.
In New Delhi, he offered intelligence sharing and other cooperation with India in fighting extremism and terrorism, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi tackled rising tensions with Pakistan following a suicide bombing last week on Indian paramilitary soldiers in disputed Kashmir.