Executive Intelligence Review


At China-Arab Forum, President Xi Calls Sino-Arab Relations ‘Old in Distance, Close as Family’

July 10, 2018 (EIRNS)—The eighth ministerial meeting took place in Beijing today of China Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), at which three accords were struck for development. Founded in 2004 by the Arab League and China, Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed this year’s event, speaking intensely of the need for peace in the region. Among his announcements of new initiatives, he stressed the need for reconstruction in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan; and for development and peace, through a two-state solution for Palestine. He announced a grant of 100 million yuan for Palestinian economic relief and additional emergency assistance for the region through the UN Refugee and Humanitarian Aid Agency.

Xi opened his keynote at the Great Hall of the People, referring to the Silk Road, characterizing Sino-Arab connections are “both old and young.” They are “far in distance, and close as family.” Further, “our ancestors traveled the Silk Road overland and by sea, and whatever the obstacles, Chinese-Arab relations were always good.” Later in his speech, when speaking of people-to-people “inter-civilizational” exchanges, he told the Arab states’ representatives, “You have created a splendid civilization.”

President Xi presented four main points under the rubric of “a community with a shared future,” announcing several specific initiatives:

Trust: A just world should be pursued, with peace and stability in Southwest Asia, for which all nations must work together. A new $20 billion reconstruction fund will be set up for the region, giving special help to Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Jordan. A contingent of 500 medics will be sent to the region.

Rejuvenation: Among the goals of economic activity, nations should “synergize” energy resources; develop the “Blue Economy Corridor” (Maritime Silk Road,) and conduct other “oceanic” development, collaborate on satellite remote sensing, low carbon fuels, including the “peaceful use of nuclear power,” as well as hydropower, and solar and wind. A new China-Arab Bank will be set up with an initial capitalization of $3 billion.

China-Arab States Win-Win Trade: Pursue industrial parks and connectivity. Over the next five years, there can be $8 trillion in trade. The first-ever Arab states trade exhibit event will take place in Shanghai later this year.

China-Arab Inclusion in Mutual Learning: A China-Arab press center and digital portal will be set up, along with an arts festival. Arab states guests are to come to China, including 100 political leaders, 300 professionals, 100 religious leaders, 1,000 party leaders, and 10,000 trainees in various pursuits.

The CASCF conference approved three accords: a “Declaration of Action on Arab Belt and Road Cooperation,” a “Beijing Declaration,” and organizational action plan to develop the CASCF from 2018 to 2020.

After the meetings, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi briefed the media, emphasizing that China is helping Arab countries speed up industrialization and economic diversification, and that today’s meeting marks a new chapter in the process. Wang gave specifics on connectivity and projects, as reported by Xinhua:

“Having started work on industrial parks in Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman, China plans to connect construction and management of the industrial parks with Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Port, the port of Djibouti, and Port Said, said Wang.”