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China-Arab ties continue to move forward in spirit of friendship at an ever-faster pace: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-05-30 20:16

President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 10th ministerial meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum on May 30, 2024. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

The convening of the 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing on Thursday is the latest manifestation of the two sides' efforts to strengthen their historical bonds, traditional friendship and win-win cooperation.

Relations between China and the Arab world have kept scaling new heights since the beginning of the new century, with the two sides agreeing to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era at the first China-Arab States Summit held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2022.

That President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday that Beijing will host the second China-Arab States Summit in 2026, two years prior to its scheduled date, demonstrates the two sides' confidence in the prospects for their relations, as well as their shared resolve to seek common development.

To realize that endeavor, the Chinese leader called for the two sides to further synergize their development strategies under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen their cooperation in key areas such as oil, gas, trade and infrastructure, and to step up their efforts to foster new growth areas such as artificial intelligence, investment, financing and new energy.

China welcomes the Arab states to participate in the China International Import Expo, and Arab banks to join the Cross-border Interbank Payment System. It also encourages the Arab states to deepen exchanges and cooperation on central bank digital currencies and issue panda bonds in China, which are among the latest opening-up measures the country has implemented in the financial sector. That highlights the two sides' intent to move beyond their traditional cooperation in fossil fuels to pursue an innovative, green and sustainable path to prosperity.

With that destination in mind, the two sides should nurture a more dynamic framework for their cooperation so they can put into practice the principle of planning together, building together and benefiting together.

As the Chinese leader said in his speech, in a world of growing diversity more dialogue means less confrontation, and more inclusiveness means less estrangement. With three influential Arab countries — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — joining BRICS as new members, China and the Arab states can not only set a good model of South-South cooperation, they can also more effectively coordinate on the world stage and champion a more equitable global governance system.

Platforms such as the China-Arab Center for the Global Civilization Initiative, which Beijing has said it is ready to establish with the Arab side, and the China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development that has been proposed, should be established to promote exchanges between think tanks, universities, research centers and the cultural and tourism departments and youth of the two sides.

Building a China-Arab community with a shared future represents a strong statement of the two sides' common desire for a new era of China-Arab relations and a better future for the world, featuring common development, peace and stability, mutual respect and true multilateralism.

The Middle East is a region with great development prospects, but it is a region still wracked by conflict. Since last October, the Israel-Palestine conflict has escalated rapidly, spilling over to the broader region. As China and the Arab states jointly advocate, justice should not be absent forever. China will continue to work with the Arab states in support of the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine's full membership in the United Nations.

As the meeting demonstrates, China and the Arab states are determined to carry forward the spirit of friendship, and that can only be of benefit to the world.

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