Saudi, Japanese leaders discuss enhancing cooperation

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held talks in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Sunday to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation.

The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations, especially aspects of cooperation in the economic, trade, investment and cultural fields, and ways to enhance cooperation in accordance with the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia and Japan signed 26 agreements and memoranda of understanding in the fields of renewable energy, space, technology and artificial intelligence.

Riyadh and Tokyo “agreed to cooperate in sharing technology to aid in the decarbonization,” Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported.

Bin Slaman and Kishida also agreed to “economic diversification of the Middle Eastern nation, while ensuring Japan’s ongoing access to its oil,” the broadcaster said.

Energy deficient Japan is highly dependent on energy imports from the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia accounts for about one-third of Japan’s total crude oil imports.

In order to deepen bilateral relations, the two sides will launch “strategic dialogue” at the level of foreign ministers.

“We are shifting away from the existing relationship of an oil importer and an exporter and will deepen a new global partnership for the decarbonization era,” Kishida said.

Meanwhile, the Japanese prime minister met with Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday.

The duo discussed the situation in the Muslim world and issues on the OIC agenda, notably the cause of Palestine, fight against violent extremism and terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, the Sahel region, and combating Islamophobia, the pan-Islamic grouping said in a statement.

Taha “expressed his appreciation for Japan’s active role in building sustainable peace, dialogue among civilizations and development in the world.”

The Japanese premier started an official visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday on the first stop in his Gulf tour. He is scheduled to visit Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Representatives from around 40 Japanese companies are accompanying Kishida during his four-day trip to the three gulf nations.

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