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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Gulf visit deepens mutual political trust: Chinese premier

(Xinhua)

16:58, January 19, 2012

DOHA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Wednesday his visit to the Middle East had significantly enhanced mutal political trust between China and countries in the region.

He said China and the Arab nations had no history of disputes and old scores, so they shared mutual interests. China and the Gulf countries should work together to overcome difficulties arising from the current international financial crisis and complex international political situation, Wen told a press conference during his official visit to Qatar.

He also reaffirmed China's stand of keeping the whole Middle East region nuclear free, without exception.

As a big country, China undertakes its responsibility to support Arab countries in settling unrest in the region peacefully through political means, the premier said.

Wen reiterated the purpose of his visit. "Some people said my visit was to secure oil, which is narrow-minded. I came here for friendship," he said.

Wen told reporters he personally felt the profound friendship toward China in the Gulf countries during a chat with ordinary Arabs in a cafe in Dubai, including Emiratis and Jordanians.

Responding to a question on the conditions of Chinese muslims, he said: "There are many mosques in China, and Chinese muslims live and work according to their own customs. Religious freedom and equality among different nationalities is an important principle in China."

Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum praised Wen on his blog as "modest", which he said was a shared value between Chinese and Arabic cultures.

Al-Maktoum added, developing relationships with China would be the UAE's foreign policy priority.

Wen also looked forward to building ties: "It's a pity that contacts between Chinese and the Gulf states' leaders are not enough. My visit to Saudi Arabia is the first visit by a Chinese premier in 20 years, while my visit to the UAE and Qatar is the first by a Chinese premier."

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