Xi highlights 'profound' friendship

By XU WEI in Riyadh (China Daily) 15:13, December 09, 2022

Video screens on buildings in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, display slogans in Arabic and Chinese welcoming President Xi Jinping's visit to the Middle East country and celebrating China-Saudi Arabia friendship. WANG DONGZHEN/XINHUA

Signed article says visit to usher in new era in China's relations with Arab world

China will work with Arab states to carry forward their traditional friendship, jointly build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era and keep expanding cooperation in areas such as food, energy, investment, financing and medical services, President Xi Jinping said.

In a signed article published in the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh on Thursday, Xi said China and Arab states will continue to hold high the banner of noninterference in internal affairs, firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity, and jointly uphold international fairness and justice.

The article was published one day after Xi arrived in Riyadh for the first China-Arab States Summit, the first China-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit and a state visit to Saudi Arabia. It was also Xi's first visit to the Middle Eastern nation since 2016.

"I am coming back to Riyadh, bringing with me profound friendship from the Chinese people," he wrote in the article, adding that the visit will carry forward traditional friendship, and usher in a new era in China's relations with the Arab world, with Arab states of the Gulf, and with Saudi Arabia.

He noted that the Arab people value independence, oppose external interference, stand up to power politics and highhandedness, and always seek to make progress.

He commended the Arab states for firmly supporting the one-China principle and supporting China in safeguarding its core interests.

"Likewise, China supports Arab states in upholding sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. On issues such as the Palestinian question, China's firm support for Arab states has been consistent and unwavering," the president said.

China has set up 20 Confucius Institutes and two Confucius Classrooms in Arab states, with over 40 Chinese universities teaching Arabic as a major, contributing inexhaustible energy to growing Sino-Arab friendship.

Xi called on the two sides to continue to jointly advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom — the common values of humanity, strive to replace estrangement and the clash of civilizations with exchanges and mutual learning, and promote understanding and affinity between their peoples.

As for ties between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council, Xi noted that China has remained the GCC's largest trading partner and its largest export market of petrochemical products. In 2021, two-way trade exceeded $230 billion, and China's imports of crude oil from GCC countries topped 200 million metric tons.

China will seize the opportunity of the establishment and consolidation of the China-GCC strategic partnership to cement their traditional friendship and deepen mutual trust, he said.

Beijing will work with the GCC to foster a new pattern of multifaceted energy cooperation, accelerate new development in financial and investment cooperation, cultivate new highlights in people-to-people exchanges, and explore new areas of innovation cooperation, he added.

Xi also underlined Beijing's readiness to take the visit as an opportunity to strengthen its comprehensive strategic partnership with Riyadh, calling on both sides to continue to give each other understanding and support, and jointly advocate independence and oppose external interference.

"We will further synergize China's Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, deepen and substantiate practical cooperation in all areas, and increase the convergence of interests and people-to-people connectivity between the two countries," he said.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Hongyu)


Related Stories