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Yang Jiechi: Deepen strategic cooperation, promote common development

(People's Daily Online)

13:08, May 30, 2012

Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister of China (File Photo/ People's Daily Online)

―An Article Written in the Run-up to the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum

By Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister of China

On 31 May, the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) will be held in Tunisia. At the beginning of 2004, President Hu Jintao paid a historic visit to the headquarters of the League of Arab States and put forward four principles for developing the new type of partnership between China and Arab countries, namely, to promote political relations on the basis of mutual respect, to forge closer trade and economic links so as to achieve common development, to expand cultural exchanges through drawing upon each other's experience, and to strengthen cooperation in international affairs with the aim of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. These principles chart the course for the growth of China-Arab relations in the new century and are positively echoed by Arab leaders. It was during President Hu's visit at that time that China and Arab countries announced the establishment of the CASCF, providing the two sides with an important platform of collective dialogue and cooperation. In the past eight years, the CASCF has held four ministerial meetings. The friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and Arab countries in political affairs, economy, trade and people-to-people ties continue to deepen and the two sides maintain close communication and coordination in regional and international affairs. With concrete actions, we have implemented the consensus between our leaders and steadily pushed forward the new type of partnership between China and Arab countries.

The upcoming ministerial meeting will be the highest level regular event of the CASCF after the establishment of the China-Arab strategic cooperative relationship under the CASCF framework in 2010. Chinese and Arab foreign ministers as well as the Secretary General of the Arab League will get together to discuss ways and methods to further expand and deepen China-Arab win-win cooperation in all areas. They will identify priority areas for China-Arab cooperation in the next two years and formulate relevant action plans in a joint effort to advance China-Arab relations. Both sides have high hopes for this meeting.

The friendship between China and Arab countries goes back a long time. It has withstood the test of time and always stayed vibrant. In history, Chinese and Arab civilizations have learned from each other and jointly made important contribution to the development of mankind. In the past 50-plus years, China and Arab countries have supported each other and shared weal and woe in fighting for independence, safeguarding state sovereignty and realizing national rejuvenation. We have forged a strong bond between us. China-Arab relations have grown rapidly in the new century. In particular, since the establishment of the new type of partnership between China and Arab countries and the inception of the CASCF, our cooperation has continuously improved in mechanisms, expanded in scope and become more fruitful on the ground. This has greatly enhanced the friendly China-Arab relationship, taking it to a completely new stage of development.

The two sides have further strengthened political mutual trust. China firmly supports Arab countries in exploring development paths suited to their own national conditions. China is committed to advancing the peace process in the Middle East. And China supports Arab countries in upholding their lawful national rights. Arab countries have also given China valuable support on issues related to China's major interests and concerns.

The two sides have developed closer economic and trade relations. Our trade volume has increased rapidly, reaching US$195.9 billion in 2011, an increase of 34.7% year-on-year. Mechanisms such as the Entrepreneurs' Conference and Investment Seminar and the Conference on Energy Cooperation have provided the two sides with new platforms for practical cooperation. Despite the severe impact of the international financial crisis, economic cooperation and trade between China and Arab countries have continued to grow, which fully demonstrates the strong dynamism and broad prospects of our practical cooperation.

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