Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was received on arrival at Beijing International Airport by Chinese State Counselor Yang Jiechi on March 16th, 2017. [Photo: SPA]
Saudi King Salman is now on a four-day trip here to China, with various agreements set to be signed in areas including technology transfers, industry and trade.
The trip here to China is the Saudi King's first visit as his country's head of state. He visited China twice in 1999 and 2014 as crown prince.
Salman's trip this time comes as his Kingdom looks to diversify its economy.
China and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic ties in 1990.
Ties between the two sides have been increasing steadily since then.
China's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Li Huaxin, says bilateral relations hit a new high early last year when Chinese President Xi Jinping travelled to Saudi Arabia for a state visit.
"Exchange of visits by the two leaders within just over one year has shown that they attach great importance to bilateral ties. The two countries have signed agreements on cultural cooperation and education among others. I hope we will achieve a series of cooperation results this time," said Li.
China has become Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, with oil revenues making up a vast majority of the trade volume.
However, the Saudi government has been taking steps to diversify itself out of just oil.
In 2016, Saudi authorities unveiled its "Vision 2030" program, which is designed to reduce its dependence on energy-related exports and increase its service sector in areas such as health care, education, recreation and tourism.
This has made China a prime target for potential growth in these areas.
According to Li Shaoxian, Dean of Arab Studies at Ningxia University, the Saudi government's plans fit well with the Chinese government's "Belt and Road" initiative.
"The most import aspect of establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Saudi Arabia is to link up the two strategic conceptions proposed by the two—China's 'Belt and Road' initiative and Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. That is why King Salman's trip to China is so important. It is viewed as a historical visit during which the two sides are going to have in-depth discussions on how to promote cooperation in sectors of business and natural recourses," Li Shaoxian commented.
Saudi King Salman has already made stops in Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan as part of his current tour.