Profile: Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia is scheduled to pay a state visit to China from March 15 to March 18 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Born on Dec. 31, 1935 in Riyadh, Salman is the 25th son of the desert kingdom’s founder Abdulaziz bin Saud, who conquered his rivals and welded disparate regions of the Arabian Peninsula into a kingdom in 1932.

For almost five decades, Salman had served as governor of Riyadh Province since 1963, home to the capital city. In 2011, he served as minister of defense following the death of his brother Prince Sultan. In June 2012, he was appointed as crown prince and also made first deputy prime minister and defense minister.

On Jan. 23, 2015, Salman, aged 79, succeeded as the seventh king of the kingdom after his half-brother Abdullah died of pneumonia. He has also served as prime minister.

Salman paid two visits to China in 1999 as governor of Riyadh and in 2014 as crown prince, respectively.