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 Biden, who pledged during the 2020 election to treat the kingdom like a “pariah” state.