Asia Minute: Saudi Arabia's King Traveling Widely in Asia

Mar 9, 2017

King Salman bin Abdul Aziz
Credit Wikipedia

The king of Saudi Arabia is in Asia this week. In fact he's traveling in the region for an entire month. He's already spent time in Malaysia and Indonesia and will later head to Japan and China. Why the extensive travels? HPR's Bill Dorman has more in today's Asia Minute.

King Salman bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia has been in Bali this week. And like many visitors to the Indonesian island, he's decided to extend his stay adding on another couple of days.

But these travels are not exactly a vacation. They have something to do with religion and a great deal to do with commerce and security.

He's visiting several Muslim countries in addition to Indonesia - he's been to Malaysia and will also stop by Brunei and the Maldives.

He'll also go to China - which is now the world's biggest importer of oil. And to Japan, where Saudi Arabia remains the biggest single supplier of crude.  In both places he'll also be looking for investment money.

The deputy crown prince visited both countries last year, when Saudi Arabia announced its "National Transformation Plan." An ambitious blueprint that lays out more than 300 parts of the Saudi government that will require foreign direct investment.

And, the state-run oil giant Saudi Arambco plans an initial public offering next year.

Saudi state-run media says security cooperation will also be on the agenda and more specifics will no doubt emerge as the journey continues.

The King is not traveling light. Indonesia media reports say his entourage includes about 1,500 people. He's also brought two limousines and a reported 506 tons of luggage.