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China and GCC countries committed for the long haul

By Jan Yumul and Yang Han in Riyadh | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-12-10 18:38

With China and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries adopting a common position on a wide-range of issues and opportunities from economic recovery, green investments and even conflicts, analysts say it is an affirmation that the two sides are in for a permanent run.

In a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency on Dec 9, China and the GCC countries adopted a joint action plan for the period of 2023 to 2027 that would strengthen the two sides’ existing strategic partnership and emphasized pushing it toward new horizons in various political, economic and cultural fields.

Mehran Kamrava, a professor of Government at Georgetown University Qatar, said this is an indication of the growing importance of the Persian Gulf region on one hand and of China's more active global diplomacy on the other.

Gokhan Ereli, Gulf Studies coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, in Turkiye, told China Daily that the summit between China and the GCC countries “stands out” as one of the most comprehensive summits “held in recent times”.

Ereli said the statement published after the summit is an important point to comment not only on the economic and commercial partnerships between China and the Gulf countries, but also on international issues, and issues in the Middle East and Asia.

The adoption of a common position on current and past issues, like the islands issue between the UAE and Iran, shows that the GCC relations with China are based on more permanent foundations.

“At the same time, it has been implied that the security of the GCC is the security of China, both with the summit and the declaration issued after it. Therefore, the strategic partnership dimension of GCC-China relations is seen here,” he added.

In the statement, the leaders stressed the need to support the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the GCC region, and ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, in order to preserve regional and international security and stability. They reaffirmed the call on Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The leaders also affirmed their support for the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen, headed by President Rashad Al Alimi, expressing their hope to reach a political solution in accordance with the GCC initiative and its Executive Mechanism, the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the Security Council resolution 2216.

They called on all Yemeni parties to immediately initiate direct negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.

“The statement puts the outline for Arab-Chinese relations and acknowledgement of common grounds, which is very important since the leaders did not meet before all together to establish such statement,” Rasha Al Joundy, a Gulf expert at the Dubai Public Policy Research Centre in the United Arab Emirates, told China Daily.

Al Joundy noted that sovereignty and territorial integrity “are sensitive topics for Arab and GCC countries” because of Iran’s involvement and interference, therefore it was “an important statement from China along with supporting Yemen council”.

In discussing regional and international issues, the leaders agreed on the importance of concerted efforts to achieve peace, security, stability and prosperity in all parts of the world, and the priority of restoring international peace and security, through mutual respect and cooperation between countries.

They affirmed their positions in support of all international efforts aimed at finding a political solution to end the crisis in Ukraine, in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, in order to achieve the protection of lives and property, and to preserve regional and international security and stability.

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