An article signed by President Xi Jinping hailing relations between China and Arab states was on Thursday published on the Saudi paper Al Riyadh, as the president began his state visit of Saudi Arabia.
Beijing has touted the visit as its biggest diplomatic initiative in the Arab world. Xi will attend the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council summit which will be "an epoch-making milestone in the history of the development of China-Arab relations", foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Wednesday.
In his article in Al Riyadh, titled "Carrying Forward Our Millennia-old Friendship and Jointly Creating a Better Future", Xi said he is "bringing with me profound friendship from the Chinese people".
"Designed as a trip of building on the past and more importantly, of opening up a better future, the visit will carry forward our traditional friendship, and usher in a new era in China's relations with the Arab world, with Arab states of the Gulf, and with Saudi Arabia."
The president said the world is now undergoing momentous changes and that both China and Arab states face a "historic mission" of realising national rejuvenation and speeding up national development.
He pledged Beijing will work with Arab states to build a Sino-Arab community with a shared future.
Xi added: "China will stay committed to providing new opportunities for Arab states and all other countries in the world through its own development, and work with our Arab brothers to carry forward the traditional friendship and create a better future together."
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar were among those who welcomed Xi at the airport, where a ceremonial purple carpet was laid out for his arrival.
The trip will also feature bilateral meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Wednesday said that "Saudi Arabia will remain China's credible and reliable partner" in the global oil market.
Bilateral "relations... are witnessing a qualitative leap", the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted him as saying.
He said the two countries will endeavour to boost cooperation in energy supply chains by establishing a "regional centre" in Saudi Arabia for Chinese factories, according to SPA. (Xinhua/AFP)