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Chinese president prepares for African trip
Chinese president prepares for African trip

BEIJING - Energy issues will be an important component of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Saudi Arabia and Africa this month, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference that Hu would visit Saudi Arabia from April 22 to 24, following a visit by Saudi King Abdullah to China in January.

"I believe energy cooperation is an important domain of... (our) cooperation but it is not the only domain," Liu told reporters.

China, the world's number-two energy consumer after the US, imported 130 million tonnes of crude oil last year, about 20 million of which came from Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah's visit was the first by a Saudi monarch since diplomatic relations were established in 1990 and saw the signing of a bilateral agreement to cooperate in oil, gas and mineral deposits.

Hu's visit underlines the quest by Saudi Arabia, which has the world's biggest oil reserves, to forge partnerships with Asia.

The foreign ministry spokesman stressed that China was also seeking wider cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the African countries that Hu was intending to visit.

"The promotion of cooperation in President Hu's visit to the relevant countries should be multi-dimensional, including energy, economic and trade, politics and cultural," Liu said.

Hu's trip will take place after his US visit from April 18 to 21.

After Saudi Arabia, he will visit Morocco from April 24 to 26, Nigeria from April 26 to 27 and Kenya from April 27 to 28.

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