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President Xi Jinping Attends First China-GCC Summit and Delivers Keynote Speech
2022-12-14 06:08

On the afternoon of 9 December local time, the first China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit was held at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh. President Xi Jinping attended the Summit with Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifah of Bahrain, Crown Prince Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah of Kuwait, Deputy Prime Minister Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said of Oman, the Ruler of Fujairah Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad Al Sharqi of the UAE, and GCC Secretary General Nayef Falah Al Hajraf. It was decided at the Summit to establish and strengthen a China-GCC strategic partnership.

President Xi delivered a keynote speech entitled “Building on Past Achievements and Jointly Creating a Brighter Future of China-GCC Relations”.

President Xi pointed out that the friendly exchange between China and GCC countries goes back nearly two millennia. In 1981, China established contact with the GCC upon its inception. Forty plus years on, the two sides have written together a splendid chapter of solidarity, mutual assistance and win-win cooperation. The leapfrog growth of China-GCC relations is attributed to the profound mutual trust. China and GCC countries have all along supported each other’s sovereignty and independence, respected each other’s development paths, upheld equality between countries regardless of their size, and stood firm in defending multilateralism. It is attributed to the high degree of complementarity. China has a vast consumer market and a complete industrial system, while the GCC, with rich energy resources, is embracing diversified economic development. This makes the two sides natural partners of cooperation. It is attributed to the empathy of the two peoples. Both belonging to the family of Eastern civilizations, China and GCC countries have similar culture and values. Their peoples enjoy close bonds of friendship. It is also attributed to the solidarity between the two sides in times of adversity. Against regional and international uncertainties as well as challenges such as the financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and major natural disasters, the two sides have come to each other’s aid and navigated through the difficulties together.

President Xi underscored that China highly commends the GCC countries’ efforts to seek strength through unity and make the GCC the most dynamic regional organization in the Middle East and the Gulf. Standing at a historical crossroads, the two sides should carry forward the tradition of China-GCC friendship, and take the establishment of the China-GCC strategic partnership as an opportunity to enrich the strategic substance of this relationship.

— China and the GCC should be partners for greater solidarity, further consolidate political mutual trust, and firmly support each other’s core interests. The two sides need to jointly uphold the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, practice true multilateralism, and defend the common interests of all developing countries. 

— China and the GCC should be partners for common development, better synergize development strategies, and leverage their respective strengths to cultivate driving forces for development. China looks forward to working with all parties to advance the implementation of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and follow through on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a view to promoting regional development and prosperity.

— China and the GCC should be partners for common security. China will continue to firmly support GCC countries in safeguarding their security, and support the efforts by countries in the region to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation and to build a Gulf collective security architecture. China welcomes the participation of GCC countries in the Global Security Initiative (GSI) in a joint effort to uphold regional peace and stability.

— China and the GCC should be partners for cultural prosperity, enhance interactions between their peoples, increase cultural exchanges, draw on each other’s fine cultural achievements, and promote the rich values of Eastern civilizations, so as to contribute their share to the development and progress of human civilization.

President Xi stressed that in the next three to five years, China will work with GCC countries in the following priority areas.

First, setting up a new paradigm of all-dimensional energy cooperation. China will continue to import more crude oil and LNG from GCC countries, strengthen cooperation with GCC countries in oil and gas development and clean and low-carbon technologies, and conduct RMB settlement in oil and gas trade. A China-GCC forum on peaceful use of nuclear technology and a China-GCC nuclear security demonstration center will be established. China will provide training opportunities to GCC countries on peaceful use of nuclear energy and technology.

Second, making new progress in finance and investment cooperation. China and GCC countries could collaborate on financial regulation, set up a joint investment commission, and support cooperation between sovereign wealth funds from both sides in various forms. The two sides could explore setting up a China-GCC forum on industrial and investment cooperation, strengthen investment cooperation on digital economy and green development, build a working mechanism on investment and economic cooperation, and deepen digital currency cooperation.

Third, expanding new areas of cooperation on innovation, science and technology. China is ready to work with GCC countries to set up big data and cloud computing centers, strengthen 5G and 6G technology cooperation, build innovation and entrepreneurship incubators, and implement ten digital economy projects in such areas as cross-border e-commerce and communications network. A China-GCC cooperation mechanism in meteorological science and technology will be set up, and the two sides could convene a seminar on climate response.

Fourth, seeking new breakthroughs in aerospace cooperation. China stands ready to work with GCC countries on remote sensing and communications satellite, space utilization, aerospace infrastructure, and the selection and training of astronauts. China welcomes GCC astronauts to its space station for joint missions and space science experiments with their Chinese colleagues. China welcomes GCC countries’ participation in payloads cooperation in its aerospace missions, and will consider establishing a China-GCC joint center for lunar and deep space exploration.

Fifth, nurturing new highlights in language and cultural cooperation. China will cooperate with 300 universities, middle and primary schools in GCC countries on Chinese language education, work with GCC countries to set up 300 Chinese language smart classrooms, provide 3,000 “Chinese Bridge” summer/winter camp opportunities, and set up Chinese language learning and testing centers and online Chinese classes. The two sides could hold a China-GCC language and culture forum, and compile a bilingual library for people-to-people and cultural exchanges and mutual learning.

President Xi underscored that China and GCC countries share the glorious mission of developing and revitalizing their nations. China-GCC relations are both time-honored and young. China will continue to support the GCC in seeking strength through unity, realizing diversified economic development, and playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs. China will work with the GCC to take the Summit as an opportunity to usher in a brighter new era for China-GCC relations.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chaired the Summit on behalf of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. He noted that the many risks and challenges facing the world require the solidarity and joint response of all parties. Under the able leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has scored huge development achievements and become a major progressive force steering global governance. The GCC highly values the rich fruits of GCC-China cooperation in various fields, and highly appreciates China’s proposal of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and its important contribution to promoting the political settlement of regional issues. All GCC countries look forward to closer cooperation with China, and hope to identify priority areas for future GCC-China cooperation at the Summit, which will open a new chapter in this relationship. The GCC is committed to increasing experience-sharing and technological cooperation with China and to pushing for more outcomes from cooperation in infrastructure, health, energy and so on, in a bid to better tackle global challenges like the food and energy crises.

Other GCC leaders attending the Summit spoke highly of GCC-China relations and the first GCC-China Summit. They shared the view that the first GCC-China Summit is a milestone event in the history of GCC-China relations. GCC countries and China have similar ideas and views, and their relationship fully demonstrates mutual understanding, mutual trust and win-win cooperation. The GCC believes that the sustained prosperity and development of China will create more opportunities for the world, and that closer GCC-China cooperation will help promote a more just and reasonable international order and contribute to regional peace and development. The GCC is firmly committed to the one-China principle, and stands ready to work with China to implement the outcomes of the Summit and further deepen GCC-China cooperation in priority areas to the benefit of their peoples. 

At the Summit, a joint statement by the People’s Republic of China and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf was issued, a 2023-2027 action plan for strategic dialogue between the People’s Republic of China and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf was adopted, and plans were made for China’s cooperation with GCC countries in various fields.

Ding Xuexiang, Wang Yi and He Lifeng were present at the Summit.

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