Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud attends a news conference at the Arab Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 9, 2022. Image Credit: REUTERS

RIYADH: After a China-Arab summit hosted by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said that the kingdom wants to cooperate with both the United States and China and that while competition was good, polarisation was not.

At a news conference Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said that the Kingdom’s economy is expanding rapidly and “we need all partners”. The Kingdom does not believe in choosing between one partner and another.

“We [have] strategic partnerships with [many] countries including the US, India and China,” he said, adding that cooperating with the world’s number two economy is necessary, however, this doesn’t mean not cooperating with the world’s number one economy.

“We do not believe in in polarization or selecting between one partner and another,” he said, reiterating that the Kingdom will continue to set its policies “based on its own interests.”

“We have mutual interests with [both] the US and China, and we will continue to work to achieve them,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Chinese President Xi Jinping touted close security and energy ties with Gulf nations during summit meetings in Saudi Arabia.

On the third and final day of his visit, Xi attended summits of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council and a broader China-Arab leaders’ meeting.

This is only Xi’s third journey outside China since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The discussions came one day after bilateral sit-downs with Saudi royals yielded a joint statement stressing “the importance of stability” in oil markets - a point of friction with the United States. Washington has urged the Saudis to raise production.

“China will continue to firmly support the GCC countries in maintaining their own security and build a collective security framework for the Gulf,” Xi said at the China-GCC summit.

“China will continue to import large quantities of crude oil from GCC countries on an ongoing basis,” he said, also vowing to expand other areas of energy cooperation including liquefied natural gas imports.