Arabian Gulf foreign ministers head to Beijing for meeting

BEIJING (AP) — Foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf countries are in Beijing meeting officials from the world’s second-largest economy, major oil consumer and source of foreign investment.

China’s foreign ministry did not provide details on the agenda of the visit on Monday, but said it expected them to “deepen the relationship between the two countries.”

The meeting, which runs through Friday, will include the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, as well as the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

China and the United States are increasingly vying for influence in the Middle East, where Chinese companies find markets for goods and services ranging from highways to military drones. China’s economy is heavily reliant on Middle Eastern oil and gas, and Beijing also maintains close ties with Iran over its nuclear ambitions and disputes with other Gulf states.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news conference on Monday that China and the Gulf countries “have provided firm support to each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests, and have promoted practical cooperation in various fields for fruitful results.”

The meeting was attended by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Kuwait Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Mohammed al-Sabah, Omani Foreign Minister Badr Ab Saidi, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdulati Bin Rashid Alzayani and GCC Secretary General Nayef Farah al-Hajraf.

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