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China-Arab states' forum a platform for deepening ties for shared future

By WU YIXUE | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-28 08:20

The fourth China-Arab States Forum on Reform and Development supported by the China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development in Shanghai in September last year. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Tunisia's President Kais Saied, and the United Arab Emirates' President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will pay state visits to China from Tuesday to Saturday and attend the opening ceremony of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, due to be held in Beijing on Thursday.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. In December 2022, the top Chinese leader and Arab leaders jointly attended the first China-Arab States Summit, drawing up a comprehensive blueprint for the development of China-Arab relations and agreeing to build a China-Arab community with a shared future for the new era. Since then, China has established comprehensive strategic partnerships with 14 Arab countries and the League of Arab States. The league was the first regional organization to launch a data security cooperation initiative with China, and to issue a joint statement on implementing the Global Civilization Initiative. Within the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, 19 mechanisms covering various fields have been established and 85 outcome documents of various kinds have been issued.

China and Arab countries have always firmly supported each other, with Arab states firmly abiding by the one-China principle and supporting China in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity. China firmly supports Arab countries in strengthening strategic independence, unity and self-reliance and pursuing development paths suited to their national conditions. It has brokered the resumption of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, leading to a "wave of reconciliation" in the Middle East. China also supports restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and has always been committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue.

China has signed Belt and Road Initiative cooperation documents with all 22 Arab countries and the Arab League. China remains the largest trading partner of Arab countries, with bilateral trade increasing from $36.7 billion in 2004 to $398 billion in 2023, and the stock of two-way direct investment exceeding $30 billion. The Belt and Road Initiative now serves as an important platform for both sides to achieve mutual benefit and win-win cooperation with broader and more promising prospects.

Hopefully, China and the Arab states will take the upcoming event as an opportunity to carry forward the spirit of traditional friendship, enrich and deepen their all-round, multilevel and wide-ranging cooperation, and pool strength for building a higher-level China-Arab community with a shared future.

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