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RIYADH (Reuters) -Chinese President Xi Jinping began a visit to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday that Beijing said marked its biggest diplomatic initiative in the Arab world, as Riyadh expands global alliances beyond a longstanding partnership with the West.
The meeting between the global economic powerhouse and Gulf energy giant comes as Saudi ties with Washington are strained by U.S. criticism of Riyadh’s human rights record and Saudi support for oil output curbs before the November midterm elections.
The White House said Xi’s visit was an example of Chinese attempts to exert influence, and that this would not change U.S. policy towards the Middle East. “We are mindful of the influence that China is trying to grow around the world,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
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Chinese President Xi Arrives In Saudi Arabia To Deepen Middle Eastern Ties
China’s Xi arrives in Saudi Arabia to ‘bolster ties’ — Al Jazeera
Xi’s Saudi trip to open up new prospects for China-Arab ties — Global Times