Continuing his intense programme of diplomatic activity over recent months, Chinese President Xi Jinping last week paid his second state visit to Saudi Arabia, where he also attended the first China-Arab States Summit and the first China-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Summit.
In his keynote speech to the China-Arab States Summit, delivered in the Saudi capital Riyadh on December 9th, President Xi said:
“China and Arab states enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. We have come to know and befriend each other through the ancient Silk Road. We have shared weal and woe in our respective struggles for national liberation. We have conducted win-win cooperation in the tide of economic globalization. And we have upheld fairness and justice in the changing international environment.”
Over the past decade, he noted, two-way trade had grown by over 100 billion US dollars, to reach over 300 billion dollars, and over 200 Belt and Road projects had been carried out.
Xi Jinping said that China and the Arab countries should:
- Stay independent and defend our common interests;
- Focus on economic development and promote win-win cooperation;
- Uphold regional peace and strive for common security; and
- Increase exchanges among civilizations to enhance mutual understanding and trust.
The Chinese leader devoted particular attention to the question of Palestine in his speech, clearly noting:
“The historical injustices done to the Palestinian people should not be left unattended indefinitely. The legitimate rights and interests of a nation are not up for trade, and the demand to establish an independent state shall not be denied.”
“Recently,” he continued, “through the efforts of Arab states, important progress has been made in intra-Palestinian reconciliation. China welcomes these developments. I would like to reiterate that China firmly supports the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Here, President Xi refers to the agreement concluded in Algiers in October between Fatah, Hamas and 12 other Palestinian resistance organisations, with the active mediation of the Algerian government.
President Xi also presented the Arab leaders with eight major initiatives to boost China-Arab practical cooperation. They cover the following fields:
- Development Support. This category includes a pledge by China to provide humanitarian support and reconstruction assistance for countries including Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria. This is particularly significant in that Syria is still unjustly excluded from the League of Arab States, although considerable progress is being made to rectify this.
- Cooperation on food security
- Cooperation on public health
- Cooperation on green innovation
- Cooperation on energy security
- Cooperation on inter-civilizational dialogue
- Cooperation on youth development
- Cooperation on security and stability
In a declaration issued following the summit, the leaders said they support the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The only nuclear-armed state in the region is Israel.
We reprint below the full text of President Xi’s speech to the summit as well as reports on his eight point proposal on cooperation and on the summit declaration. They were originally carried by the Xinhua News Agency.
Full text of Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at China-Arab States Summit
Carrying Forward the Spirit of China-Arab Friendship and Jointly Building a China-Arab Community with a Shared Future in the New Era
Riyadh, 9 December 2022
At the outset, I wish to thank Saudi Arabia for the warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangement. I am very pleased to join you for the first China-Arab States Summit. The Summit is a milestone in the history of China-Arab relations, and will take us to a more promising future of friendship and cooperation.
China and Arab states enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. We have come to know and befriend each other through the ancient Silk Road. We have shared weal and woe in our respective struggles for national liberation. We have conducted win-win cooperation in the tide of economic globalization. And we have upheld fairness and justice in the changing international environment. Together, China and Arab states have nurtured the spirit of friendship featuring “solidarity and mutual assistance, equality and mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and mutual learning.”
Solidarity and mutual assistance is a distinct feature of China-Arab friendship. We trust each other, and have forged a brotherly friendship. We firmly support each other on issues involving our respective core interests. We work hand in hand and make progress together to realize the dream of national rejuvenation. We brave wind and storms together in fighting the COVID pandemic. The China-Arab future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development is unbreakable.
Equality and mutual benefit is a constant driver for our friendship. China and Arab states have set an example for South-South cooperation in pursuing mutually beneficial collaboration. The two sides have established 17 cooperation mechanisms under the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Over the past decade, our trade has grown by 100 billion U.S. dollars, with the total volume exceeding 300 billion dollars; China’s direct investment in Arab states was up by 2.6 times, with the stock of investment reaching 23 billion dollars; over 200 Belt and Road projects have been carried out, benefiting nearly two billion people of the two sides.
Inclusiveness and mutual learning is a key value inherent in our friendship. We appreciate each other’s civilizations, and have written a splendid history of mutual learning. We keep drawing wisdom from each other’s time-honored civilizations, and jointly promote “peace, harmony, integrity, and truth”, the very essence of civilization. We stay true to our principles despite the clamour for “clash of civilizations”, advocate together inter-civilizational dialogue, oppose discrimination against particular civilizations, and endeavor to safeguard the diversity of world civilizations.
The world today is in a new period of turbulence and transformation. The Middle East is undergoing new and profound changes. The aspiration of the Arab people for peace and development is much more compelling, and their call for equity and justice is stronger than ever. As strategic partners, China and Arab states should carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and foster a closer China-Arab community with a shared future, so as to deliver greater benefits to our peoples and advance the cause of human progress.
– We should stay independent and defend our common interests. China supports Arab states in independently exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and holding their future firmly in their own hands. China is ready to deepen strategic mutual trust with Arab states, and firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity. Our two sides should jointly uphold the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, practice true multilateralism, and defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
– We should focus on economic development and promote win-win cooperation. We should strengthen synergy between our development strategies, and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We should consolidate cooperation in traditional areas including economy and trade, energy and infrastructure development. In the meantime, we should strengthen new sources of growth such as green and low-carbon development, health and medical services, and investment and finance, and expand new frontiers including aviation and aerospace, digital economy and peaceful use of nuclear energy. We should also tackle major challenges like food security and energy security. China will work with the Arab side to implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and drive sustainable development of South-South cooperation.
– We should uphold regional peace and strive for common security. China supports the Arab side in promoting political settlement of hotspot and challenging issues with Arab wisdom, and build a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security architecture in the Middle East. China urges the international community to respect the role of the Middle East people as masters of their own affairs, and add positive energy to the security and stability of the region. China welcomes the Arab side to participate in the Global Security Initiative (GSI), and will continue to contribute Chinese wisdom to promoting peace and tranquility in the Middle East.
– We should increase exchanges among civilizations to enhance mutual understanding and trust. We need to increase personnel exchange, deepen people-to-people cooperation, and promote the exchange of governance experience. We need to jointly oppose Islamophobia, carry out cooperation on deradicalization, and reject association of terrorism with any particular ethnic group or religion. We need to advocate humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and set an example of inter-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning in the new era.
We are pleased to see the decision by the Summit to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era and to formulate the Outline of the Comprehensive Cooperation Plan Between China and Arab States, laying out the blueprint for future China-Arab relations. As the first follow-up step of that decision, China will, in the next three to five years, work with the Arab side to advance eight major cooperation initiatives in areas including development support, food security, public health, green innovation, energy security, inter-civilizational dialogue, youth development, and security and stability. China has briefed the Arab side on the details of the eight initiatives, and will work with the Arab side to promote their early implementation and strive for early harvest.
The Palestinian issue bears on peace and stability in the Middle East. The historical injustices done to the Palestinian people should not be left unattended indefinitely. The legitimate rights and interests of a nation are not up for trade, and the demand to establish an independent state shall not be denied. The international community should stay firm in its commitment to the two-state solution and the principle of “land for peace”, make resolute efforts to promote peace talks, provide more humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine, and strive for a just settlement of the Palestinian issue at an early date. Recently, through the efforts of Arab states, important progress has been made in Intra-Palestinian reconciliation. China welcomes these developments. I would like to reiterate that China firmly supports the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestine in becoming a full member of the United Nations, and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine, support livelihood projects in the country, and increase donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Recently, the Communist Party of China successfully convened its 20th National Congress. The Congress laid out the tasks and path of advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization, and provided a blueprint for China’s future development. China will stay committed to upholding world peace, promoting common development, and building a community with a shared future for mankind. China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and upholding international fairness and justice. China is committed to promoting friendship and cooperation with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and will work to deepen and expand global partnerships. Acting on a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, China will continue to promote high-standard opening up and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. By doing so, we wish to create new opportunities for Arab states and all other countries with China’s new development.
A great cause begins with a dream and turns into reality through hard work. Let us carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, jointly build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era, and usher in an even brighter future for our relations.
Xi proposes eight major initiatives on China-Arab practical cooperation
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday proposed eight major initiatives on China-Arab practical cooperation at the first China-Arab States Summit held here at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center.
The details are as follows:
First, cooperation initiative on development support.
China will discuss with the Arab side the implementation of assistance projects worth 5 billion yuan (about 719 million U.S. dollars) in development cooperation, and include 30 eligible Arab projects in the Global Development Initiative project pool.
In line with the Arab side’s financing needs for projects in such areas as production capacity, infrastructure, energy and green finance, China will provide credit and credit facilities for the Arab side, and support the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in providing more high-quality, low-cost and sustainable infrastructure investment for the Arab side.
In line with the progress in the exchange of notes, China will grant zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of the taxable products from the least-developed Arab states.
China will provide humanitarian and reconstruction assistance for countries including Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.
China aims to expand its trade with Arab states to 430 billion dollars by 2027.
Second, cooperation initiative on food security.
China is ready to help the Arab side enhance its food security and comprehensive agricultural production capacity.
China will, together with the Arab side, build five joint laboratories of modern agriculture and carry out 50 demonstration projects in agricultural technology cooperation, and send 500 experts in agricultural technology to the Arab side to help increase grain yield, improve its ability to harvest and store grain and reduce losses, and improve agricultural productivity.
China will establish a “green channel” for the Arab side’s quality agri-food products to be exported to China.
Third, cooperation initiative on public health.
China is ready to work with the Arab side to build a cooperation center on public health science and technology and a cooperation alliance for vaccine innovation, research and development, carry out five cooperation projects of traditional Chinese medicine in Arab states, continue to send Chinese medical teams to Arab states to perform 2,000 free cataract surgeries, and provide telemedicine services for people in Arab states.
Fourth, cooperation initiative on green innovation.
China is ready to work with the Arab side to set up an international research center on drought, desertification and land degradation, and carry out five South-South cooperation projects in climate change.
China will use its Fengyun meteorological satellites and the World Meteorological Center in Beijing to support the Arab side in disaster prevention and mitigation.
China is ready to work with the Arab side to set up a China-Arab BeiDou Navigation Satellite System application and industrialization promotion center to provide the Arab side with quality services in such fields as transportation, precision agriculture, and search and rescue.
China will build a number of joint laboratories or research and development cooperation centers with the Arab side in such fields as life and health, artificial intelligence, green and low-carbon, information and communications and space information, and provide 300 advanced and applicable technologies for the Arab side.
Fifth, cooperation initiative on energy security.
China is willing to work with the Arab side to build a clean energy cooperation center, support Chinese energy enterprises and financial institutions to participate in renewable energy projects in Arab states with a total installed capacity of more than 5 million kilowatts.
China is ready to cooperate with the Arab side in energy science and technology research and development, strengthen energy policy coordination, and promote the building of a global energy governance system featuring justice, equity, balance and shared benefits.
Sixth, cooperation initiative on inter-civilizational dialogue.
China will invite 1,000 personages from political parties, parliaments, media and think tanks from the Arab side to China for exchanges.
China will promote cooperation among 500 Chinese and Arab cultural and tourism enterprises and train 1,000 cultural and tourism talents for Arab states.
China, together with the Arab side, will implement the mutual translation project of 100 classic books and the cooperation project of 50 audio-visual programs.
China will continue to strengthen the China-Arab Research Center on Reform and Development and enhance the dialogue of civilizations and the exchange of experience in governance between the two sides.
Seventh, cooperation initiative on youth development.
China will hold a youth development forum with Arab states and launch a “10+10” cooperation plan between Chinese and Arab universities.
China will invite 100 young scientists from the Arab side to China for scientific research exchanges, 3,000 teenagers for China-Arab cultural exchanges, and 10,000 Arab talents for professional training in poverty alleviation, health and green development.
China is ready to help set up more Luban Workshops in Arab states.
Eighth, cooperation initiative on security and stability.
China will work with the Arab side to strengthen strategic dialogues between their defense departments and military forces as well as exchanges between military units and between academies, deepen cooperation on maritime security, international peacekeeping and professional techniques, and expand joint military exercises and training as well as personnel training.
China will train 1,500 personnel in such fields as smart policing and cyber security law enforcement for the Arab side.
China will implement the China-League of Arab States Cooperation Initiative on Data Security, establish a network information exchange mechanism, and strengthen exchanges and dialogues in data governance and cyber security together with the Arab side.
China, Arab states agree to strengthen cooperation, promote strategic partnership
Leaders of China and the member states of the Arab League agreed here Friday to strengthen cooperation and enhance the China-Arab strategic partnership.
In a declaration issued following the first China-Arab States Summit, the leaders said they hope to open up broader prospects for the China-Arab strategic partnership.
China and Arab states are committed to deepening China-Arab cooperation in various fields through the mechanisms under the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, read the declaration.
The two sides stressed that the Palestinian issue remains the core of the Middle East issue, which calls for ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory, establishing an independent State of Palestine based on the 1967 border and with East Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions, and facilitating a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution.
The leaders said that they value and appreciate the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and China’s efforts to achieve world peace and development through the above-mentioned initiatives, including holding the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development.
Meanwhile, the two sides agreed to make all-out efforts to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era.
The declaration stressed that the Arab states firmly adhere to the one-China principle, support China in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and reaffirm that Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory.
The leaders agreed that regional and international efforts should be made to seek political solutions to regional crises and issues such as the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen in accordance with relevant international resolutions, agreements and principles.
They said that they support the efforts to achieve a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis and restore security and peace in accordance with international law, the principles of the UN Charter and principles of good-neighborliness, national sovereignty and territorial integrity, thus safeguarding the core interests of all parties.
Both sides agreed to respect each country’s independent choice of its development philosophy, and expressed willingness to jointly implement the Belt and Road Initiative.
They emphasized that international human rights cooperation should be carried out on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and opposed the politicization and instrumentalization of human rights issues and the use of such issues to exert pressure on other countries and interfere in their internal affairs.
The leaders said they support the establishment of a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Both sides agreed to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts and reject “double standards” in the fight against terrorism. They also agreed to strengthen dialogue among civilizations and oppose Islamophobia in all forms.