Silk Road of­fers Sino-Ara­bian blue­print

En­ergy, in­fra­struc­ture, along with trade and in­vest­ment to form main­stay of links

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By PU ZHENDONG and LI XIAOKUN

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping out­lined a blue­print for greater co­op­er­a­tion with Arab states on Thurs­day, de­scrib­ing them as “nat­u­ral part­ners” in re­gional de­vel­op­ment projects, a Silk Road eco­nomic belt and a mar­itime Silk Road.

Xi said China and Arab na­tions should es­tab­lish a co­op­er­a­tive frame­work cen­tered on en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion, with in­fra­struc­ture along with trade and in­vest­ment as “two pil­lars”, and aim for high-tech break­throughs in nu­clear en­ergy, aero­space and new en­ergy.

“The next decade poses a crit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment pe­riod for both China and Arab states, which calls us to carry for­ward the Silk Road spirit and re­ju­ve­nate our coun­tries,” Xi said at the open­ing of the Sixth Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence of the China-Arab States Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum.

He also an­nounced that the two sides will ex­pand their trade vol­ume from $240 bil­lion to $600 bil­lion in the next 10 years.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies were en­cour­aged to in­vest in sec­tors such as en­ergy, petro­chem­i­cals, agri­cul­ture, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices in Arab states.

Xi said dis­cus­sions should be held on es­tab­lish­ing a China-Arab tech­nol­ogy trans­fer cen­ter, jointly build­ing the Arab train­ing cen­ter for peace­ful use of nu­clear en­ergy and open­ing China’s Bei­dou Nav­i­ga­tion Satel­lite Sys­tem to Arab states.

For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi told re­porters, “We have got­ten closer at the fo­rum.”

More than 200 guests from China and Arab states par­tic­i­pated in the fo­rum, which cel­e­brates its 10th an­niver­sary this year.

They agreed to jointly com­bat ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism, and strengthen ef­forts to fa­cil­i­tate a free trade agree­ment be­tween China and the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil.

The coun­cil is a po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic union of six ma­jor oil ex­porters that bor­der the Gulf — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Ara­bia and the United Arab Emi­rates.

Zhu Weilie, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for China-Arab States Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum Stud­ies and a pro­fes­sor at Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies Univer­sity, said the Silk Road ini­tia­tives were an up­graded ver­sion of Chi­nese en­ter­prises’ “go­ing-out” strat­egy.

Kuwaiti Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Ha­mad AlSabah, who at­tended the fo­rum, said Kuwait fully sup­ports the Silk Road ini­tia­tives, and urged an ac­cel­er­a­tion of ne­go­ti­a­tions for a free trade agree­ment.

XU JINGXING / CHINA DAILY

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and other lead­ers at­tend the open­ing of the Sixth Min­is­te­rial Con­fer­ence of the China-Arab States Co­op­er­a­tion Fo­rum in the Great Hall of the People in Bei­jing on Thurs­day.

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