The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum began its eighth ministerial meeting in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss ways to strengthen Arab-Chinese relations.
The Saudi delegation was led by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who is chairman of the current session.
In a speech at the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his intention to hold an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and expressed his support for the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.
China and Arab countries have agreed to establish a “future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development,” Xi said.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said: “We believe that boosting mechanisms of cooperation between us will contribute to achieving the supreme interests of our Arab nation and our friends, and to enhancing historical relations between the two sides, which we are keen to develop and promote in all fields.”
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the ministerial session reflects the two sides’ keenness to deepen Arab-Chinese ties.
He urged China to continue its support for Arab issues, foremost among them the Palestinian cause.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, Al-Jubeir delivered a lecture to the Middle East Studies Association.
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He said: “Saudi-Chinese relations have been deepened by both countries’ belief in key principles, notably respecting the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their affairs.”
“Saudi Arabia launched its Vision 2030 reform plan to bolster the economy by reducing dependence on oil, attracting investors, and improving the transparency and performance of government institutions,” he said.
Vision 2030 also aims to create a climate of tolerance and moderation, confront extremism, and enable Saudi women to be partners in moving the Kingdom forward, he added.
Saudi Arabia considers itself an essential partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which will have a great economic and social impact on the world, and will contribute to regional security and stability, Al-Jubeir said.
Riyadh is consulting with Beijing on cooperation regarding the BRI, and on encouraging the Middle East to play a key role in the project, he added.
Al-Jubeir pointed to both sides’ keenness to intensify scientific exchanges, as the Kingdom has sent students to China for education and to become bridges between the two countries.
There are hundreds of Saudi students in Chinese universities, and the Kingdom has opened a branch of the King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Beijing to encourage exchanges between scholars, researchers and students in both countries, he said.
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