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Friendship core of Hu Jintao´s foreign tour


Source: | 02-18-2009 11:56

Special Report:   President Hu visits 5 nations

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President Hu Jintao has just wrapped up his first foreign trip of the year, to Saudi Arabia and four African countries. While political ties and the global financial crisis dominated the president's meetings, friendship and cooperation is the trip's key theme, and the focus of China's relations with the Gulf and African countries.

Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao addresses a welcoming rally attended by people from various sectors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Feb. 16, 2009. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao addresses a 
welcoming rally attended by people from various 
sectors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Feb. 16, 2009. 
(Xinhua/Ju Peng)

Saudi Arabia is China's biggest trading partner in the Middle East. The 41.8 billion US dollars of trade in 2008 is almost 12 fold more than two decades ago. China's oil imports from Saudi Arabia in 2008 made up one-fifth of all the country's oil imports for the year. Hu Jintao proposed the two countries promote an all-round energy partnership and expand two-way investment.

The Chinese president also held consultations with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Together, its member nations make up a group that is China's eighth largest trading partner.

But Hu Jintao's trip was about more than energy and trade agreements. King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz says the two countries are brothers, and China is a true friend of Saudi Arabia. Political analysts say his trip demonstrates that friendship is the overriding interest of China's diplomatic policy.