Saudi king postpones visit to Maldives over flu outbreak

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Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has cancelled his state visit to the Maldives over the H1N1 outbreak in the island nation.

The United States has also decreased imports of Saudi oil in the wake of a shale gas boom.

The agreement covers several strategic projects, including developing joint venture petrochemical projects in China and Saudi Arabia, which target key downstream markets, such as automobiles, electronics, lighting, construction, packaging, and medical equipment, according to the statement.

Energy cooperation, which has been the foundation of China-Saudi Arabia relations, is at the center of Saudi Arabia's concerns, according to the report. "Saudi Arabia is willing to work hard with China to promote global and regional peace, security and prosperity", Salman said.

Saudi King Salman is in Japan on an official visit which has already seen him visit Indonesia and will take him to China.

Saudi companies also signed agreements with Chinese developers in areas including information technology and renewable energy.

- Saudi Aramco and Aerosun Corp 600501.SS signed an MoU to manufacture reinforced thermoplastic pipe and components.

Experts say Beijing's non-interference in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy and its reliance on the region for oil is much valued.

During the press conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohamed Asim, said that when the fresh dates are confirmed for the king's visit, it will be announced. The three-day Chinese stop reciprocates Xi's visit to Riyadh previous year to shore up China's sphere of influence in the middle east.

"This visit will push forward and continue to improve the quality of our relations and bear new fruit", Mr Xi said in comments in front of reporters.

One Beijing-based diplomat from a Muslim-majority country told Reuters that China was trying to play the role of "honest broker" in the Middle East, as it lacks the historical baggage of the Americans or the Europeans.

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