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Politics

SoftBank's $93bn fund goes a long way to help US-Saudi ties

CEO Masayoshi Son puts art of the deal to work knitting up diverse interests

Saudi King Salman,left, meets with SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son in Tokyo on March 14.

TOKYO -- Ties frayed between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia while former President Barack Obama was in office, but with new U.S. President Donald Trump making the Middle East kingdom the starting point of his first overseas trip, the relationship looks to have improved remarkably. And a $93 billion fund set up by Japan's SoftBank Group certainly is helping both sides smile anew.

Trump was welcomed in Saudi Arabia with an unusually high level of cordiality. It was a stark contrast to what Obama received in April last year. While Obama was greeted by a governor on his arrival, Trump was welcomed by 81-year-old King Salman at the airport. Saudi Arabia hosted a lunch and dinner for the president and gave him the kingdom's highest honor.

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