Upgrading China-Arab relations

Updated: 2014-06-03 07:39

By Wang Yi(China Daily)

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On June 5, Beijing will witness a grand gathering of delegates from Arab states and the Arab League for the sixth Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum and celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the Forum. This is a major diplomatic move of the Chinese government geared toward the entire Arab world under the new conditions and also a momentous event in the history of China-Arab relations, carrying the significance of building on past achievements and shaping the future.

The China-Arab Cooperation Forum was established in January 2004 following a joint announcement by China and Arab states at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo and with a focus on long-term growth of China-Arab relations in the new century. It was a natural outcome of the growing political mutual trust and thriving practical cooperation between the two sides and was a highly relevant new measure taken by the two sides to ride the tide of globalization and regional cooperation. The establishment of the Forum, rooted in time-honored friendship, driven by mutually beneficial cooperation and aimed at common development, was a reflection of the strategic will and common choice of China and the Arab states.

A decade of efforts through thick and thin have now come to fruition. The China-Arab Cooperation Forum has developed, under the Forum's framework, over ten cooperation mechanisms including the Ministerial Conference, the Senior Officials' Meeting, the business conference, investment seminar, the seminar on China-Arab relations and inter-civilization dialogue, the friendship conference, the conference on energy cooperation, the forum on media cooperation, the senior health officials meeting and the Arab arts festival in China and Chinese arts festival in Arab states. With such tremendous enrichment of friendly exchanges and increased variety of win-win cooperation models, the China-Arab Cooperation Forum has become an important brand leading the growth of China-Arab relations.

The past decade has been one of increasingly mature political mutual trust between China and Arab states. In 2010, the Forum's fourth Ministerial Conference issued the Tianjin Declaration, announcing establishment of the "China-Arab strategic cooperative relationship for comprehensive cooperation and common development" under the framework of the Forum and a new stage in China-Arab collective dialogue and cooperation was unveiled. Moreover, China has established strategic relations with Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and set up with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) the China-GCC strategic dialogue mechanism. As always, China has supported Arab states in independently exploring development paths compatible with their national conditions and in restoring the legitimate rights of their nations, including Palestine's right to an independent Palestinian state. Likewise, Arab states gave invaluable support to China on issues concerning China's major interests and core concerns, and provided generous assistance to China in time of disasters such as the Wenchuan earthquake. During the past ten years, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Arab League has adopted resolutions on many occasions on strengthening Arab-China friendly relations in various fields. Cooperation with China has become a consensus among Arab states.

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