Upgrading China-Arab relations

Updated: 2014-06-03 07:39

By Wang Yi(China Daily)

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At the Forum's sixth Ministerial Conference, the two sides will adopt a Beijing declaration, an action plan for 2014-2016, and a development plan for 2014-2024 to draw up an ambitious blueprint for the development of China-Arab relations and that of the Forum in the coming decade. China will expound its policy towards Arab states under the new situation and propose new ideas and measures for closer practical cooperation. The Conference will not only start a new decade of greater success in the development of the Forum but also sound a clarion call for the upgrading of China-Arab relations.

The deepening of China-Arab strategic cooperation needs a solid foundation. The two sides need to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, ensure the success of the ministerial conference, the senior officials' meeting and other meeting mechanisms at various levels within the Forum's framework, conduct dialogue and consultation on global issues in political, economic and security fields, and demonstrate the strategic importance of their relations. The two sides need to give mutual support with regard to issues concerning each other's core and major interests, step up coordination and collaboration in regional and international affairs, turn the balance of power in favor of developing countries, and advance shared interests.

The deepening of China-Arab strategic cooperation needs inexhaustible impetus. Located at the western end of the economic belt along the Silk Road and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, Arab states are natural and important cooperation partners for China in building the economic belt and the maritime Silk Road. China wants to reinforce cooperation with Arab states in both traditional sectors such as energy, trade and infrastructure and emerging sectors such as nuclear energy, space technology and new energy with a view to sharing development benefits and promoting common prosperity. Arab states, on their part, want to align their "look east" strategy with China's western development strategy, give play to their comparative strengths, and win themselves more opportunities and space for development. The two sides need to plan for the growth of their relations in the next 10 years around the priority of building the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, which will become sources of inexhaustible impetus for China-Arab relations. As long as we have these sources of impetus, the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Arab states will last long and achieve big.

The deepening of the China-Arab strategic cooperation needs the rich nourishment from people-to-people exchanges. The two sides need to continue their good work on institutionalized events such as the seminar on inter-civilization dialogue, the forum on media cooperation, the friendship conference and the arts festival, expand cooperation on education, health, science and technology, tourism and human resources training, and make good use of the "troika" mechanism involving youth, academic and elite delegations in a bid to further cement popular support for China-Arab friendship. Both the Chinese and the Arab civilizations have profound depths and unique features and both hold intellectual power in high regard. This is of special and positive value to the progress of human civilization and will remain so in the future. Closer people-to-people interactions between China and Arab states will contribute more oriental wisdom to the harmonious co-existence of different civilizations and more oriental ideas to the shaping of values in the global governance system.

As an old Chinese saying goes, "Nothing separates people with common goals and ideals, not even mountains and seas." More than 2,000 years ago, the ancestors of the Chinese and Arab nations overcame ethnic, cultural and geographic limits to paint a picture of harmony and friendly exchanges between China and Arab states along the ancient Silk Road. Today, China and Arab states are working together to build the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road to revive the modern-day silk road. This will open a door to new opportunities for China-Arab relations. China will work with Arab states to seize the historical opportunity, follow the win-win principle and act with creativity to achieve China's great dream of national revival in the course of deepening China-Arab cooperation. Let the 10th anniversary be a new starting point for China and Arab states to join hands, keep the momentum, and usher in a brighter future for China-Arab relations and the China-Arab Cooperation Forum.

The author is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China.

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