RIYADH, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, two first-of-its-kind events in Chinese-Arab history, were held here successfully on Friday with the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and more than 10 Arab leaders.
The milestone summits have yielded fruitful results between China and Arab states. The Chinese president also elaborated on building a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era.
Observers view the events as opportunities to bring China-Arab relations and China-GCC relations to new heights, to strengthen future cooperation, promote common security and development, and to further advance dialogue among civilizations.
SECURITY FOR ALL
At the two summits, China and Arab countries reaffirmed their commitments to jointly contributing more positive energy to maintaining regional and global peace and stability.
In his speech at the China-GCC summit, Xi called on the two sides to be partners in promoting unity, development, security and civilizations.
After Xi's state visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday, China and the kingdom issued a joint statement. The two sides reiterated that they will continue to firmly back each other's core interests, support each other in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and jointly defend the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and other basic norms governing international law and international relations.
"There is no contradiction between China and Arab states in achieving the strategic objectives of each other. Each side has its own policies that are relatively similar in terms of working towards achieving world peace," said Samaa Soliman, a member of the Committee for Arab Affairs and Foreign Relations in the Egyptian Senate.
"The two sides have consensus over stabilizing peace in the Middle East, solving regional conflicts peacefully, enhancing means of combating terrorism, and deepening benefits of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," Soliman said.
Noting that Arab countries should attach great importance to China's visions for regional peace, Mazen Shamieh, former assistant minister for the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, called the China-Arab States Summit an opportunity to implement China's visions and provide new opportunities for the settlement of the Middle East issue.
Over the years, China and the Arab world have been jointly pursuing productive common development through mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.
Among Arab countries, 20 have signed documents on Belt and Road cooperation with China, 17 have expressed support for the Global Development Initiative (GDI), and 15 have become members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Under the framework of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, 17 cooperation mechanisms have been launched to expand and substantiate the cooperation agenda. Besides, China has remained the GCC's largest trading partner and largest export market of petrochemical products.
Such efficient cooperation, observers believe, will be further advanced following the two summits, as China and Arab countries have vowed to step up efforts to unleash cooperation potential and nurture new growth drivers to common development.
In his speech at the China-GCC summit, Xi called for joint efforts with the GCC states to expand new areas of cooperation in innovation and science and technology, saying that China stands ready to work with the GCC states to build a big data and cloud computing center, strengthen technical cooperation in 5G and 6G and construct a batch of incubators for innovation and start-up businesses, among others.
The Arab country supports the GDI and looks forward to participating in the GDI cooperation and contributing to accelerating the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to the China-Saudi Arabia joint statement.
Nasser Abdel-Aal, professor of Egypt's Ain Shams University, said the GDI gives China and its partners a platform for achieving their development objectives in light of the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The BRI holds great potential for boosting Arab-China cooperation and mutual learning, bringing more benefits to the people of both sides, said Samer Khair Ahmed, a Jordanian writer and expert on Arab-China relations.
"In my opinion, the closer the Arabs cooperate with China, the closer they will achieve their own revival and rejuvenation," Ahmed said.
Convinced that the summits will strengthen China's good relationship with all Arab countries, Nahla Emad, CEO of Egypt-TEDA Suez Canal Economic Zone Development Company, said Arab states "need this relationship, not only for trade and business, but also for expanding our industrialization."
China and the Arab world have enjoyed a long history of friendly interactions despite long distances. Exchanges between China and Arab states date back more than 2,000 years. More recently, China has set up 20 Confucius institutes and two Confucius classrooms in Arab states, while more than 40 Chinese universities teach Arabic as a major.
During the two summits, the two sides have reiterated the significance of dialogue among civilizations as well as of cultural mutual learning, striving to replace estrangement and clash of civilizations with exchanges and mutual learning, promote understanding and affinity between peoples, and build "a garden of civilizations" featuring mutual appreciation and inspiration.
In his speech at the China-Arab States Summit, Xi urged for strengthened cultural exchange and better understanding and trust between China and Arab states, saying that the two sides should increase personnel exchange, deepen cultural cooperation and carry out governance experience exchanges.
While addressing the China-GCC summit, he called on the two sides to 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.
Noting that China and Arab countries have been linked for thousands of years via the ancient Silk Road in terms of trade and cultural exchanges, former Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said that under the current international situation, both sides need to join hands to motivate the world with their inherited values to build together a harmonious civilization.
The China-Arab States Summit is a chance for the Chinese and Arab leaders to exchange visions, said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. ■