China's President Xi Jinping pledged more than USD 23 billion in lines of credit, loans and humanitarian assistance to Arab countries today in a major push for influence in the region from which China sources much of its energy needs.
Another USD 151 million was earmarked for aid projects, with the remaining USD 23 billion designated for financial and economic cooperation, Xi said. No details were given about how or when the money would be dispersed.
"China and Arab states must synergise our development strategies in pursuit of our respective dream of rejuvenation," Xi said.
Saudi Arabia was China's second-largest source of crude oil last year and Iraq was its third biggest supplier at the start of 2018. The Middle East is also a key node in China's "Belt and Road" initiative that envisages linking Beijing to other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa via a network of ports, railways, economic development zones and power plants.
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