Saudi king visits Malaysia as he begins Asia tour

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 26, 2017 at 6:54 a.m.


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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Saudi King Salman arrived in Malaysia on Sunday to kick off a multi-nation tour aimed at boosting economic ties with Asia.

The king was received by an honor guard and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as he began a four-day official visit to the Southeast Asian country.

It is Salman's first visit to Muslim-majority Malaysia since he took the throne in January 2015. The last Saudi monarch to visit was his predecessor, King Abdullah, who visited in 2006.

Najib said the king's visit would strengthen ties between the two countries in fighting terrorism based on a strong belief in tolerance, moderation and comprehensive security of Islam, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The monarch's tour will also take him to Indonesia, Brunei, Japan, China and the Maldives, the news agency said. Salman will also visit Saudi Arabia's neighbor Jordan before returning home.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter, with much of its crude destined for customers in Asia.

The kingdom is eager to attract investment as it diversifies its economy, including for its upcoming initial public offering of part of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

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