The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Saudi Arabia invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Riyadh in an effort to strengthen ties with Beijing.
The invitation to Riyadh comes as Saudi Arabia’s relations with the U.S. have been strained, according to the Journal.
The trip, which would mark Xi’s first foreign visit since the COVID-19 pandemic started, is set to take place after Ramadan, which begins in April, the newspaper reported.
“The crown prince and Xi are close friends and both understand that there is huge potential for stronger ties,” a Saudi official said, according to the Journal. “It is not just ‘They buy oil from us and we buy weapons from them’.”
Xi’s potential visit would offer a stark contrast to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his relationship with President BidenJoe BidenGas prices hit new record of .43 per gallon, up 79 cents in two weeks Five key developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine Biden’s CIA head leads the charge against Putin’s information war MORE, who pledged during the 2020 election to treat the kingdom like a “pariah” state.
Most recently, Prince Mohammed has refused to speak with Biden in recent weeks over efforts to subdue spiking oil prices during Russia’s invasion, the Journal reported.
Throughout the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Saudi Arabia has rejected requests from the U.S. to pump more oil to tamper surging crude prices.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also stayed out to a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.