During a recent trip to China by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced that the kingdom had committed to implementing Chinese language programs in schools across the kingdom, hours after MbS met with Chinese President Xi Jingping, and after finalizing a $10 billion deal for Saudi Aramco to establish a refining and petrochemical complex in China.
Following a tour of the Great Wall, President Xi Jinping told the crown prince, “China is a good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia.” Xi has in recent years prioritized stepping up China’s presence in the Middle East. He added further, “The special nature of our bilateral relationship reflects the efforts you have made.”
MbS responded by saying, “In the hundreds, even thousands, of years, the interactions between the sides have been friendly. Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China,” according to Reuters.
Trade between the countries increased by 32 percent last year, he said. In response, Saudi Arabia is planning to add Chinese to the curriculum in Saudi schools and universities. “The introduction of Chinese to the curriculum is an important step toward the opening of new horizons for students,” the government said in a statement. While the Saudi Foreign Ministry announced via its official social media accounts that the kingdom will now include “Chinese language [instruction] as part of KSA’s educational curriculum in all schools and universities.”
The statement emphasized the initiative will “contribute to increasing trade and cultural ties between the two nations.”