China has over the years actively supported international efforts to cope with crises and turmoil in the Middle East. It has actively participated in Iraq’s post-war reconstruction, and pushed for political settlement of the conflict in Syria. But, as Xi said on Tuesday while pledging loans and financial aid to Arab states, development is key to resolving many of the problems in the Middle East.
In his speech delivered at the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum on Tuesday in Beijing, President Xi Jinping announced that China and Arab countries had agreed to establish a “future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development”.
President Xi Jinping has pledged more than $23 billion in lines of credit, loans and humanitarian assistance to Arab countries in a major push for influence in the region: Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon would receive $91 million in humanitarian assistance while $151 million was earmarked for aid projects, with the remaining $23 billion designated for financial and economic cooperation.
This week’s forum in Beijing will provide a clear road map for strengthening cooperation between China and the Arab states to promote development in the Middle East under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Over the past few years, the friendship that was forged long ago by means of the ancient Silk Road trade routes has flourished and exchanges and contact between the two sides have maintained a robust momentum on both the governmental and people-to-people levels. This has laid a solid foundation for the two sides to become close cooperative partners under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, which many Arab countries have already enthusiastically aligned their development plans with.
Thanks to their embracing of the spirit of pragmatism, the cooperation between China and Arab states has already proved fruitful. And they are making constant efforts to build a community with shared interests and shared future through closer collaboration and coordination.
“Upgrading ties to help all sides prosper” declared President Xi Jinping
In fact, President Xi Jinping called for joint efforts with Arab states on Tuesday to build the Belt and Road together, promote peace and stability in the Middle East and safeguard justice.
Xi made the remarks in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the eighth ministerial meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing on Tuesday.
The president announced that China and Arab countries had agreed to establish a “future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development”.
History and fact prove that no matter how the international relations change and how many difficulties are ahead, China and Arab countries have always been good partners and brothers that support and benefit from each other, Xi said.
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has gained wide support and proactive participation from the international community, Xi said, adding that Arab countries are natural partners of the Belt and Road given their important geographic locations.
The president called on Arab countries to boost strategic mutual trust with China, uphold the principle of sovereignty, propose inclusive reconciliation and oppose terrorism.
Xi announced that China will set up a special project to rebuild economies through industrial vitalization and offer humanitarian aid to relevant Arab states.
He pointed out that China and Arab states should focus on boosting interconnectivity, promote cooperation in oil and gas and low-carbon energy, and enhance cooperation in finance and high technologies.
Xi pledged that China will deepen overall reform and uphold the basic national policy of opening-up. He welcomed the Arab countries to attend the first China International Import Expo, to be held in Shanghai in November.
He called on relentless efforts in building the China-Arab community with shared interests and a shared future.
China and Arab countries should learn more from each other, resolve misunderstandings through dialogue, resolve disagreements in an inclusive manner and work together to build cyberspace civilization, Xi said.
Xi said the China-Arab Reform and Development Research Center, which was launched in Shanghai in April, should be built stronger to provide more intellectual support for both sides.
China and Arab countries should make joint efforts to answer the call of the people and promote vitalization in the Middle East, Xi said.
The diversity of the Middle East should be the origin of vigor for the region, and each country’s national condition as well as their own choices must be respected, Xi said, adding that China proposes to build a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable framework for security.
Xi pointed out that development is the key to many problems in the Middle East and all parties should keep cooperation in mind, make use of their complementary advantages and achieve common prosperity.
The relevant parties should follow the international consensus and handle the Palestinian issue in a fair manner, Xi said, adding that China supports pushing the peace talks between Palestine and Israel on the basis of the two-state solution and the Arab peace initiative.
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and the Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.
They spoke highly of Arab-China friendship, expressed willingness of participating in building the Belt and Road and agreed with Xi’s proposal of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
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One expression of such act is Beijing’s recent creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that can encompass a threat to existing organizations governing international development financing.
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