China, Saudi Arabia for stability in global oil market

As energy remains the world’s biggest concern amid the Ukraine and rising inflation, China and Saudi Arabia have stressed the importance of global oil market stability and Riyadh’s role in achieving this balance.

Following a three-day visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a joint statement published by Saudi Press Agency read, “The People’s Republic of China welcomed the Kingdom’s role as a supporter of the balance and stability in the world oil markets, and as reliable major exporter of crude oil to China.”

According to the joint statement as highlighted by official Chinese news agency Xinhua, China and Saudi Arabia also agreed to continue making the mutual relationship a priority in their respective foreign relations, and build a model of solidarity and cooperation for mutual benefits among developing countries.

During the visit, Xi met King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The talks resulted in the signing of a “comprehensive strategic partnership agreement” and 12 agreements and memoranda of understanding in topics including hydrogen, direct investment and economic development.

The two countries on Friday affirmed they will continue to “firmly support each other’s core interests,” sovereignty and territorial integrity, further pledging joint cooperation to ensure the “peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme” and urging Tehran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Xi has also extended an invitation for King Salman to visit China “at a mutually convenient time”, the statement said.

Xi arrived in Riyadh on Dec 7 when Beijing seeks to revitalize its economy, while Saudi Arabia nurtures eastern relations after an energy policy conflict with the U.S.

Washington closed a rift with Riyadh on Dec 6 with the District of Columbia federal court dismissal of a lawsuit against the Saudi crown prince, accused with the killing of dissident US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The decision followed a recommendation from US President Joe Biden’s administration that the prince should receive sovereign immunity, after his appointment as Saudi prime minister through an exemption of Riyadh’s governing code, weeks prior.

Saudi-US energy interests continue to diverge. Washington has repeatedly urged OPEC+ to release further crude supplies into the markets and ease the toll on consumers that contend with limited energy access in the wake of Russia’s Ukraine invasion and resulting sanctions. The OPEC+ October decision to reduce production quotas by 2 million barrels per day starting in November, which was upheld on Dec 4, led to a brief war of words between US and Saudi officials.

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