Xi Jinping visits S.Arabia, offers support against Houthis

Xi Jinping visits Saudi Arabia where he offered his country’s support for Yemeni government fighting against Iranian-backed Houthis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Saudi King Salman (R) walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony in Riyadh January 19, 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping voiced his country’s support for Yemeni government for its fight against the Iranian-backed Houthis, during his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.

"Both sides stressed support for the legitimate regime of Yemen," read a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry after Jinping met  Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday.

“All social, religious and political groups in Yemen should maintain their national solidarity and avoid any decisions that may cause social disruption and chaos,” said the statement.

A coalition of Arab states-led by Saudi Arabia allied with the government of President Hadi Abd-Rabbu Mansour have been bombing Houthi insurgency since March last year, in addition to running training programmes and dropping weapons for Yemeni fighters loyal to Hadi.

Later in this week, Jinping will also visit Iran which Saudi Arabia and some of the other Gulf states blame of trying to escape sectarian tension by providing support to Shiite militias in the region, including the Houthis in Yemen.

The already high tension between Sunni dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite majority Iran peaked after the execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al Nimr.

Chinese president’s Saudi Arabia visit will take two days until Thursday and respectively he will head to Iran and Egypt.

The last visit by a Chinese president to Saudi Arabia was in 2009 when Hu Jintao visited the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia was China's biggest supplier of crude oil, and bilateral trade reached $69.1bn in 2014.

TRTWorld and agencies