Xi expressed hope that the summit would “lead to a brighter future,” adding that China sought “comprehensive cooperation” with Arab states to serve Chinese-Arab common interests. (AFP)
Updated 10 sec ago
December 10, 2022
- China will work with Arab countries to support development, food security, health, energy and the environment
- President Xi Jinping reaffirms Chinese support for the establishment of an independent state of Palestine
RIYADH: Arab countries wish to enhance cooperation with China and look forward to a new phase of partnership, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman said at the inaugural Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development on Friday.
The event was one of two conferences held back to back on the last day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day state visit to Saudi Arabia.
“The Kingdom is working on enhancing cooperation (with China) to serve international stability,” the crown prince said in the presence of Arab leaders and Xi, who referred to the summit as a historic moment in relations between the Arab countries and China.
Addressing the gathering of leaders, the crown prince, who chaired the summit on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, said: “We welcome you to the first Arab-Chinese summit aimed at raising the level of joint cooperation among the member states of the Arab League and China, in a way that serves the common interests of our countries.”
He added: “We look with great interest at the steady growth and rapid technological progress achieved by China, which has made it one of the world’s leading economies.
“The convening of this summit establishes a new phase for advancing the relationship between our countries and strengthening partnership in areas of common interest.”
For his part, Xi expressed hope that the summit would “lead to a brighter future,” adding that China sought “comprehensive cooperation” with Arab states to serve Chinese-Arab common interests.
He described the Riyadh summit as a development in the history of Chinese-Arab relations that promises a brighter future amid cooperation between China and Arab states.
The Saudi crown prince said the Kingdom especially values the cooperation of, and partnerships with, the participants of the summit in the context of the Middle East Green Initiative.
Together with the Saudi Green Initiative, the MGI was launched by the crown prince last year as part of efforts to reduce regional carbon emissions.
“We are aware of the challenges posed by climate change and we believe in the need to find more sustainable and comprehensive solutions, while maintaining the levels of growth of the global economy, as we aim to reach carbon neutrality,” the crown prince said.
“We appreciate the role of China in putting forward a number of valuable initiatives, the most important of which is the Friends of Global Development Initiative, which matches many aspects of Saudi Arabia’s priorities toward supporting sustainable development and promoting food security.”
Appreciating China’s position in supporting the two-state solution in dealing with the Palestinian issue and the Arab Peace Initiative, the crown prince said: “Saudi Arabia affirms the need for a just and permanent solution to the Palestine issue in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a way that guarantees the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
In his speech, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi highlighted the significance of Arab-Chinese ties, saying coordination with China must be increased to resolve regional and international crises.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he stands with China against the “malicious campaigns” it is facing. He also condemned what he called Israel’s attempts to alter the Arab identity of Jerusalem, and demanded that Israel be held accountable for its violations.
Moving on to Syria and Libya, the Saudi crown prince said that the Kingdom attached great importance on doubling efforts aimed at finding political solutions to the current crises, and to ensuring security, stability and prosperity in the two countries.
Reaffirming the Kingdom’s support for efforts aimed at a comprehensive political solution in Yemen, he commended Beijing’s solidarity with Saudi initiatives in Yemen.
Speaking about the long history of Chinese-Arab relations, Xi said: “The friendship continues with its roots in the depths of history, where they met and got to know each other through the old Silk Road.
“The friendship persisted through the struggles for national liberation, and economic globalization, and continues to uphold rights and justice in a changing and volatile world.
“The spirit of Chinese-Arab friendship of solidarity, synergy, equality, mutual benefit, inclusiveness and mutual benefit were developed through it.”
Making a strong pitch for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Xi said: “The Palestinian cause concerns peace and stability in the Middle East and puts the moral conscience of humanity at stake.
“The historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people cannot continue. We look forward to the establishment of an independent state that does not accept rejection, and the international community must consolidate faith in a two-state solution.”
Xi reaffirmed that the Chinese side steadfastly supports the establishment of an independent and fully sovereign state of Palestine on 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in addition to supporting Palestine’s attainment of full membership at the UN.
He said China will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinian side with the aim of supporting it to carry out livelihood projects, in addition to increasing donations to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
“China and the Arab states trust each other and have brotherly feelings,” Xi said.
“We share unwavering support for issues related to the vital interests of the other side. We unite and progress together on the cause of achieving renaissance and solidarity in the spirit of one team against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He said that during the last 10 years the volume of trade exchange had exceeded $300 billion; the balance of mutual direct investment amounted to $27 billion.
More than 200 projects had been implemented within the framework of cooperation in building the Belt and Road Initiative, which has eventually benefited nearly 2 billion people.
He added: “The Chinese side is keen to deepen mutual strategic confidence with the Arab side and exchange firm support for the efforts of the other side to preserve the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity.
“The two sides adhere jointly to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, the application of true multilateralism, and the defense of right and the legitimate interests of developing countries.”
Xi said both China and Saudi Arabia must focus on economic development and strengthen cooperation based on mutual gains. He pointed out that the Chinese side supports the Arab side in finding political solutions to thorny issues and in building a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security system in the Middle East.
He highlighted China’s keenness to work with the Arab side to implement joint actions over the next three to five years, covering eight areas: development, food security, health, green development and innovation, energy security, dialogue among civilizations, youth rehabilitation, and security and stability.
He added that Islamophobia and extremism must be confronted.