Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. [...] Yet, religion often was an elephant in the room on most stops on King Salman’s trip that took him to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, China and Japan.
Members of the Saudi government are visiting the US and China. In both countries, they are striving for good relations - and their traveling diplomacy shows that the kingdom is exploring new paths. [...] the crown prince bent over backwards to offer pleasantries, calling Trump a "true friend" of the Arabs and declaring that he did not believe Trump's attempted travel banwas aimed at Muslims. Rather, the crown prince stated, the US simply wanted to protect itself from terrorism.
Sakakibara stressed the importance of the Kingdom’s economic role for Japan and the keenness of the Japanese business sector toward the achievement of the strategic economic and developmental objectives of the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 that aims to bolster bilateral cooperation.
Saudi King Salman’s four-day state visit to Malaysia in late February culminated with an investment deal between Malaysia’s Petronas and Saudi Aramco, as well as key bilateral agreements on the cooperation and exchange of expertise in the fields of trade and economy; labour and human resources; science and higher education; and news exchange. The latter agreements underscore a shift from past engagements.
The Kingdom has much to offer Canadian companies, with major social infrastructure projects underway, a vibrant business community, and an increasing openness to foreign direct investment. [...] Based on experience, commercial diplomacy is the key to restore a more balanced relationship with Riyadh, and this, in turn, will better benefit Canadian businesses.
Saudi Arabia aims to promote itself as an attractive touristic destination owing to its diverse landscape and archaeological treasure, currently little known owing to decade-old lack of state interest. In years to come, Riyadh plans to gradually introduce tourist visa to people of all nationalities, with the condition that the visitors will respect the local culture and traditions. Currently, eight million religious tourists visit the country to perform umrah and hajj.
All in all, Salman’s Asian official visit-cum-holiday is likely to reverberate far beyond the billions of dollars in economic and commercial agreements he signs. The visit also solidified cooperation between Asian nations and Saudi Arabia in the fight against IS.
German police have been training 45 Saudi female border guards as part of a security agreement signed by the interior ministries of both countries. The Saudi General Directorate of Border Guard said in a statement that the participants are learning new security skills such as personal protection, preliminary investigation, identity verification, arrest and inspection, confiscation of seized items.