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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Cementing ties with Arab world

(China Daily)

13:53, January 15, 2012

Premier Wen's visit to the Arabian Peninsula is significant not only for bilateral ties, but also the region and world beyond

Premier Wen Jiabao's six-day visit to the Arabian Peninsula, which begins on Saturday, has drawn widespread interest both at home and abroad.

The visit comes at a time when the United States and its Western allies are mounting pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear program and the "Arab Spring" has brought about dramatic and profound changes in the Arab world's geopolitical landscape. Against this backdrop, the significance of Wen's trip, which will take him to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), goes far beyond China's ties with the Arab nations and the Islamic world.

Given the robust trade ties between China and the three Arab nations, Wen's visit will have a considerable impact on the world economy, because deep Sino-Arab cooperation in energy will contribute to the stability of the world's energy market and global trade as a whole.

In recent years, especially after the inauguration of China-Arab Cooperation Forum in 2004, Sino-Arab relations have developed more rapidly. China's trade with Arab League countries has been on the fast track of growth. The volume of China-Arab League trade, the seventh largest for China, is estimated to have crossed a record $190 billion in 2011.

Cooperation in energy is undoubtedly the cornerstone of bilateral trade. According to Chinese media reports, China now imports more than 55 percent of its crude oil needs, and 47 percent of that comes from the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is China's top oil supplier, while Qatar is its largest supplier of liquefied natural gas.

To buttress its fast-growing economy, China needs a stable and continuous supply of huge volumes of fuel. The Middle East is the world's largest fuel exporter, but then it needs a long-term and stable fuel consumer to maintain its position. Sino-Arab energy cooperation caters to the interests of and is strategically important for both sides.

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Leave your comment2 comments

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Mahendra at 2012-01-15223.255.226.*
I agree: Wen"s visit to the Arabian Peninsula will help consolidate old friendship
helen at 2012-01-15175.142.223.*
While cementing friendship is good, it is always important to distinguish between US inspired false friendship and true one. Just don"t end up with lesser and lesser friends - a deliberate US trick or entrapment....

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