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China boosts yuan in energy markets as Xi ends Saudi visit
By Teddy Ng
South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
Saturday, December 10, 2022
China pledged to step up development aid and ramped up its efforts to promote the use of the Chinese yuan in energy markets as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his trip to Saudi Arabia.
Beijing also offered to train 1,500 police and cybersecurity officials as part of its efforts to expand security cooperation and to increase the Gulf states' participation in Chinese space projects.
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As part of the visit, Xi attended two summits on Friday – one a gathering of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the other a broader China-Arab leaders' meeting.
As part of China's ongoing drive to bolster its position in the Middle East, state news agency Xinhua also reported that Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua would be visiting the United Arab Emirates and Iran in a four-day trip starting today.
The summits, held amid growing friction between the United States and Saudi Arabia over oil production and human rights, saw both sides vowing to strengthen "solidarity" and "refraining from using or threatening to use force in international relations."
The visit also came at a time of growing uncertainty in the energy market -- partly as a result of the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine -- leading to adverse economic effects such as rising inflation in many countries. Saudi Arabia has rejected Washington's call to raise oil production, which added to tensions facing the two nations.
A joint statement released after the China-Arab summit stressed the need to avoid "excluding major energy sources," which could have an impact on developing countries.
But Xi told the Gulf summit that there should be a new paradigm for energy cooperation, and tried to boost the role of the yuan as a currency for trading in oil and gas -- a move that could weaken the global dominance of the US dollar if successful.
"China will continue to import large quantities of crude oil on a long-term basis from GCC countries, and purchase more LNG," he said. "The Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange platform will be fully utilised for yuan settlement in oil and gas trading." ...
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