Summits, meetings present auspicious opportunities

By Nabil Fahmy (China Daily) 15:16, December 09, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia at Riyadh's al-Yamamah Palace in Saudi Arabia, Dec 8, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

During President Xi Jinping's visit to Saudi Arabia, he will participate in the inaugural China-Arab States Summit as well as the first China-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit and undertake a number of bilateral meetings with his Arab counterparts.

Substantial economic capacity, technological prowess and huge investment capacity make China an attractive partner for the Arab world.

China and the Arab world are constructive international contributors and strong supporters of the peaceful resolution of disputes. Consequently, formal declarations after group meetings will be reached easily using traditional concepts governing international relations, especially the sanctity of state sovereignty and noninterference in internal affairs of states.

Maritime security along the east coast of Africa and in and around the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf) will be raised by Arab counterparts. President Xi will find attentive listeners if he expands on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's earlier statement about the basic principles to govern peace and security in the region.

President Xi's visit to Saudi Arabia and the China-Arab States Summit are expected to produce some concrete results. I expect that the bilateral meetings that will occur in parallel will be followed by announcements regarding concrete projects. This is particularly true between Saudi Arabia and China, given their economic weight and visionary outlook. This will cater well for increasingly strong Arab and Chinese ties.

Equally, if not even more important, the China-Arab States Summit will provide China and Arab countries with the opportunity to reassess each other. China will be assessing whether the Arab world is an attractive and reliable partner in good times and bad, especially as the world order moves more toward choppy waters, given the region's relations with the West. For their part, Arab countries will seek to assess whether China will play an increasingly prominent role in international relations and promote a more equitable, sustainable world order. I am confident that both sides will conclude these meetings with a sense of satisfaction.

The next step will be for China and the Arab world to work together toward these objectives. Even the best intentions need resilience, determination and committed nurturing for them to bear fruit. I strongly believe that it serves the interests of China and the Arab world that we do so.

The author is former foreign minister of Egypt and visiting senior fellow at the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding at Peking University.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Hongyu)


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