Deepening Friendship and Strengthening Cooperation To Build a New-type China-Arab Partnership
Statement at the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab Cooperation Forum
31 May 2006, Beijing
Mr. Mohammad Hussain Al Sha'ali, current President of the Council of the League of Arab States and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates,
On the occasion of the convocation of the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, our appreciation to your Governments for the support and assistance they have given to the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, and a warm welcome to Mr. Mohammad Hussain Al Sha'ali, Mr. Amre Moussa and all the ministers present. May I also express warm congratulations on the convocation of this meeting.
Fifty years ago, China and Egypt established diplomatic relations, thus ushering in a period of China-Arab friendly cooperation. Since then, China-Arab relations have made great strides. We sympathized with and supported each other during the national liberation movements. We cooperated closely in the struggle to safeguard our state sovereignty and national independence and establish a fair and equitable new international order. We conducted sincere cooperation to boost our economic development and nation building.
The famous ancient Chinese philosopher and thinker Confucius said: "One should get a clear understanding of the world at the age of fifty." After fifty years of development, China-Arab relations have entered a period of maturity and stability and can boast a wealth of experience as follows: politically, mutual respect and equality; economically, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation; and culturally, mutual enrichment and complementarity. In particular, over the past two years since the establishment of the Forum, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, we have made steady headway and set up an effective mechanism of all-dimensional cooperation with political, economic and cultural cooperation as the mainstay, which has played an important role in deepening China-Arab relations. The China-Arab relationship sets an example for international relations in today's world, and also contributes significantly to world peace and progress.
Both China and Arab States are at a crucial period of development. Looking around the world, we see profound changes in the international situation and fast progress in economic globalization and science and technology. Peace, development and cooperation have become the deeply cherished aspiration of all peoples. All countries are working for regional and global stability and concentrating their efforts on developing economy, improving livelihood and enhancing national strength. It is an important task for the vast number of developing countries, including China and Arab States, to respond to the new problems and challenges brought about by the changes, grasp the opportunities for development and build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
Peace and cooperation are the prerequisites for development. Our common goals and tasks make it much more pressing and important than ever before to advance China-Arab relations. We should stand on a new historical point to promote the establishment of a new-type China-Arab partnership.
－We should become amicable partners of mutual trust through multi-tiered exchanges. China and the Arab world enjoy geographical proximity and cultural similarity. China-Arab friendship and mutual trust is not only the precious legacy of the half-century China-Arab relationship, but also a solid foundation for its further and more comprehensive development in the future. We should cherish and carry forward our traditional friendship, promote mutual understanding and deepen mutual trust through high-level exchange of visits, closer inter-governmental cooperation and robust inter-change between parliaments and political parties. We should actively promote people-to-people exchanges in various fields and at various levels in order to make China-Arab friendship take root among the people and turn it into a strong impetus and reliable guarantee to the long-term development of China-Arab relations. We should stick to the principles of mutual respect and equality, and seeking common ground while shelving differences, and always aim at mutual benefit and win-win results in our cooperation.
-We should become partners in common development through deepening economic cooperation. Development and cooperation remain the most important part of China-Arab relations in the new era. Hence, China and the Arab countries should take advantage of their economic complementarity, and keep intensifying, expanding and enriching our cooperation. By facilitating free flow of goods, capital, technology and service, we may bring our bilateral trade volume up to US$100 billion in the year 2010. We should also encourage mutual investment and enhance our cooperation in such areas as communication, transportation, electricity, science and technology and agriculture. It is advisable to increase dialogue and cooperation in the energy area and establish a long-term and stable relationship of mutually beneficial cooperation in our joint effort to maintain the stability of the global energy market. We should also enhance the exchange of experience on ways to push forward reforms and promote development, and expand our cooperation in personnel training. The Chinese side is prepared to provide training for 500 technical and managerial personnel from Arab countries annually in the coming three years.
-We should become partners in promoting harmonious coexistence among different civilizations through further expanding friendly exchanges. Both the Chinese and Islamic civilizations made extraordinary contribution to the advancement of mankind. We are now facing the common task of maintaining and carrying forward our fine traditional culture, assimilating advanced elements from other cultures and achieving the sustainable development of our culture. As two civilizations of great influence in the world, we should also remain open and inclusive, and actively promote harmony and diversity of the world. Our two civilizations should, in the spirit of mutual enrichment and complementarity, endeavor to expand dialogue and exchange, especially academic and media exchange, and learn from the best features of each other's culture through increasing the exchange of students, setting up cultural centers, holding cultural dialogues and art festivals. In this way, we can revitalize our two ancient civilizations in the new era and make new contribution to the global cultural progress.
-We should become partners in safeguarding world peace, security and stability through strengthening our coordination in a wide spectrum of international affairs. The world is not peaceful. Unstable and uncertain factors still remain in the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region and other regions. Furthermore, traditional and non-traditional security threats are jeopardizing world peace and stability. As two major forces of the developing countries, China and the Arab countries should strengthen coordination in major international and regional issues, and work together to safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole. China will, as always, support the Arab people's just cause of regaining their legitimate national rights and interests, and stand in favor of the settlement of the Middle East issue through negotiation on the basis of the relevant UN resolutions and the principle of 'Land for Peace'. We also support the Arab countries' peace initiative for settling Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We should deepen our cooperation in combating terrorism and transnational crimes, preventing and controlling major communicable diseases and protecting environment in our efforts to respond to non-traditional security threats effectively. Our communication and coordination in multilateral political and economic arena need to be strengthened, and the North-South dialogue and South-South cooperation need to be intensified in the common interests of developing countries. Democracy in international relations should be advocated which features equality among all countries, big and small, and peaceful settlement of frictions or disputes between countries.
The establishment of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum is a significant event aimed at enhancing traditional friendship and cooperation between China and the Arab countries in the new era. It has become an important mechanism for strengthening collective dialogue and cooperation between China and the Arab countries, and has displayed its vitality. I hope that, through this ministerial meeting, China and the Arab countries will make further progress in the building of the Forum, put into practice cooperation projects in various fields within the framework of the Forum, sum up experience and explore ideas, ways and models of cooperation acceptable to both sides with a view to pushing forward the new type of China-Arab partnership.
China is the biggest developing country in the world. China will unswervingly pursue the road of peaceful development. China's development will not only help itself achieve prosperity, but also provide the Arab and other countries with opportunities, environment and room for their own development. China and the Arab countries together occupy one-sixth of the world's land and one-fourth of the world's population. Therefore, productive China-Arab friendship and cooperation not only conform to the fundamental interests of both sides, but are also conducive to world peace and development. We are convinced that despite the changes in the world, China and the Arab countries remain true friends; our bilateral relations have a solid foundation and our cooperation in all areas has a broad vista. Our wide common interest has bound us together. China will work with the Arab countries to open a new chapter for China-Arab friendship and cooperation.
In conclusion, I wish the Second Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum a complete success!