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Saudi king's Asia visit is about much more than oil

Tour hammers home how economic futures of region and Middle East are inextricably linked

| Middle East
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Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 16. (Pool photo)   © Reuters

Saudi King Salman's monthlong tour of Asia highlights the growing economic nexus between the region and the Middle East. The trip has multiple aims that go well beyond oil: In addition to reinforcing religious, political and energy ties with Sunni Islamic-majority states -- namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei -- the king was seeking investment and support for a bold, transformational plan to modernize the Saudi nation.

On King Salman's Southeast Asia swing, he made several investments in oil refineries in Malaysia and Indonesia to lock in Saudi market share and shore up the Sunni bond.

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