Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—In a joint statement issued on the final day of Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s state visit to Japan on Friday, the two sides highlighted their “strategic” relationship and pledged further cooperation on security, energy and investment.
They also pledged to strengthen bilateral dialogue among “senior officials of relevant ministries and government agencies at the earliest opportunity,” making specific reference the Middle East peace process and Syria, maritime security, counter-piracy, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among other areas.
The two countries also agreed to hold further “consultations” to discuss ways of promoting bilateral defense exchanges and cooperation.
The move to strengthen relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan comes as Saudi Crown Prince Salman wrapped up his tour Asia, visiting Tokyo this week following an earlier tour of Pakistan. The Crown Prince met with senior Japanese officials during his trip, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Economy and Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
The Saudi Crown Prince was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Japan’s leading Waseda University on Friday. During the ceremony, Crown Prince Salman confirmed the strong and “friendly” relations that bind the two countries, highlighting King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz’s inter-faith dialogue initiative.
In the joint statement, Saudi Arabia and Japan also expressed “grave concern” about the developments in Syria and the continued bloodshed taking place in the country, recognizing that “the Syrian regime should be held responsible for this situation.” Both sides conveyed “concern and disappointment” over Geneva II’s failure to achieve results, again placing responsibility with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia and Japan both “reaffirmed the commitment to seek a peaceful and urgent political settlement through full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012, including the establishment of a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers.”
On economic cooperation, both sides confirmed the importance of the stability of the oil market for the global economy. Tokyo also expressed its “appreciation for the balanced oil policy pursued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a secure and reliable source in supplying oil to the international market in general, and to the Japanese market in particular.” In turn, Riyadh affirmed its commitment to continuing a “stable” supply of oil to the East Asian nation.
Both sides also confirmed the importance of “further promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, including energy efficiency and exchange of expertise in this area,” saying they would continue to cooperate on joint oil storage and in the fields of conventional, alternative and renewable energy.
Riyadh and Tokyo pledged to “promote exchanges of young diplomats and intellectual dialogues on diplomatic issues organized by either side.”