Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, left Hawaii today for the People's Republic of China on a state visit of several days. On arrival at Beijing's international airport, the Crown Prince was greeted by Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Young Faun, Saudi Ambassador to China Yousuf Mohammad Madani, and a number of Chinese officials. The Crown Prince's official delegation includes Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Assistant Commander of the National Guard Sheikh Abdulaziz Ibn Abdulmohsin Al-Tuwaijiri, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, and other senior officials.
Later, official Saudi-Chinese talks began under the co-chairmanship of Crown Prince Abdullah and Premier of the Chinese State Council Zhu Rongji, who welcomed the Crown Prince and his accompanying delegation and highlighted the Kingdom's pioneering role under the wise leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz. Pointing out that this visit is the first by a high-ranking Saudi official, he went on to speak of the relations between the two countries and the Kingdom's status in the world which he said China looks at with appreciation and respect, saying that the current cooperation in economic and other fields reflects the deep-rooted Saudi-Chinese relations.
Crown Prince Abdullah thanked the State Council for the warm welcome, and conveyed to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, to his government and the friendly people of China, greetings from King Fahd, saying: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia appreciates China's efforts to bring about international peace, especially peace in the Middle East in the face of its stumbling progress." The Crown Prince said the Chinese people are united for justice and right and expressed the hope that China would always opt for the just and right stance especially for the Middle East issue and Arab causes. He said Saudi Arabia is looking forward to upgrading cooperation with China in the economic and political fields. During the talks, the two sides reviewed bilateral relations and efforts to boost cooperation between the two countries as well as current issues facing the international arena.