Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, right, listens to Japan's Emperor Akihito, left, during an audience at Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: Saudi media have been heaping praise on the Asia tour by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, saying that it constituted a giant leap forward for the kingdom in various fields.

The prince is on a three-leg Asia tour that has taken him to Pakistan, China and Japan amid reports by the Saudi media that the deep involvement of the private sector alongside the government sector would be highly beneficial for all parties.

“The young prince is seeking to consolidate the principle of strategic partnership instead of a consumption relationship or a cooperation that was confined to oil,” Saudi news site Sabq posted in its editorial on Thursday.

“Even if the visit to Pakistan was short and lasted only three hours, its effects on the security issues is highly significant.”

The meeting between Prince Mohammad, also his country’s defence minister, and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday “pledged to further enhance the ties between the two brotherly countries and strengthen their cooperation in diverse fields,” the Pakistani media reported.

According to Saudis, the ties between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were a “genuine embodiment of the Islamic relations needed to confront the challenges to either country”.

“The common stances adopted by both countries in the past will therefore remain strong in the future thanks to the support and efforts of their leaders and peoples.”

According to Sabq, the visit to China that started on Monday aimed, among other things, to change the prevailing economic pattern with the international giant and to encourage investments and broaden partnerships.

During the visit, Saudi Arabia and China signed 17 agreements and memoranda of understanding.

Defence cooperation was among the top topics discussed by Prince Mohammad with Chinese officials.

Under a memorandum of understanding, China will build 100,000 housing units in the area of Al Ahsa.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), along with Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co Ltd (SNCG) and the Government of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China, have agreed on a set of principles for cooperation on the development of a potential joint venture between SABIC and SNCG to build a greenfield coal-to-chemicals complex.

The facility will focus on highly-differentiated applications and segments through polymers derivatives, SPA.

Following the three-day visit to China, Prince Mohammad late on Wednesday led his delegation to Japan where they discussed ideas that could offer new economic opportunities for both countries.

On Thursday, he met Japanese Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as both countries said they were looking forward to broader cooperation.

Economy and Planning Minister Adel Faqih said that Saudi Arabia would enact economic reforms in a bid to attract more investment and break its dependence on oil.

Saudi media reported that the visit of Prince Mohammad to Japan would certainly reinforce six decades of mutual trust and cooperation.

“However, cooperation will now move onto a new strategic phase that is not confined to oil,” the Sabq editorial said.

“The official ties between Saudi Arabia and Japan that date to 1938 have today reached a new stage of cooperation characterised by strategic partnership.”