• Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State guest house on Aug. 31, 2016 in Beijing, China.

Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a meeting at the Diaoyutai State guest house on Aug. 31, 2016 in Beijing, China. (Photo : Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia has signed 15 preliminary agreements with China on Tuesday on a trip headed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aimed at improving trade and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The visit is part of an extensive reform campaign led by the influential prince to cut Saudi Arabia's reliance on oil exports and attract more global investors.

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Prince Mohammed met China's vice premier Zhang Gaoli on Tuesday, the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

"During the meeting, the strategic relationships and future opportunities to enhance the existing partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China were reviewed," the report said.

15 memorandums of understanding (MoU) were later signed between the two countries in fields including oil storage, water resources, cooperation on science and technology, and cultural cooperation, SPA added.

Among the MoU was a proposed joint construction of 100,000 homes in the Asfar suburb in the eastern Saudi city of al-Ahsa.

Saudi Arabia entered similar agreements with South Korea that led to a consortium in March to develop 100,000 housing units in northern Riyadh over 10 years.

In April, Prince Mohammed introduced radical economic reforms aimed at developing non-oil industries in Saudi Arabia and attract billions of dollars of foreign investment.

The prince arrived in China on Monday for talks on economic ties as well as security issues, followed by a visit to Japan later this week to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

From Japan, the delegation will return to China to attend the G20 summit on Sept. 4-5 in Hangzhou.

A Saudi source familiar with the trip told Reuters that Prince Mohammed will be presenting to the G20 his economic reform plan, which will see 270 billion riyals ($72 billion) of state spending in the next five years on projects to diversify the kingdom's economy.

Prince Mohammed's father, King Salman, led the Saudi delegation to the previous year's G20 summit in Turkey. Heading this year's delegation is seen by analysts as a political triumph for the 31-year-old prince, who rose to prominence when his father took the throne in January 2015.

Saudi officials will also discuss energy cooperation agreements with Japan, according to Saudi cabinet officials.

Saudi Arabia has traditionally accounted for most of Asia's crude imports, but the world's biggest oil exporter has lost steam in several major markets including Russia and China. The country also faces further threat from Iran, which has increased its exports following the removal of Western sanctions.

Under Prince Mohammed's economic reforms, Riyadh plans to sell a stake of less than five percent in national petroleum giant Aramco that is valued at tens of billions of dollars, with analysts foreseeing Chinese and Japanese money as crucial elements in smoothing the sale.