China-Arab States Summit ushers in a new era for China-Arab ties

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2022-12-23

On December 9, the first ChinaArab States Summit was convened in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia, and attended the summit as well as the China-GCC Summit. An historic milestone in China-Arab relations, this visit marks a new height of strategic mutual trust between China and Arab countries, a new level of pragmatic cooperation between the two sides, and a new stage for building a China-Arab community with a shared future.

Upgraded cooperation

The summits, held concurrently, shared a lofty purpose, repositioning China-Saudi Arabia, China-GCC and China-Arab relations in the new era, greatly expanding the scope and level of cooperation, and marking a new height of strategic mutual trust between China and Arab countries.

The concurrent summits have already produced fruitful results. A blueprint for pragmatic cooperation between China and Arab countries has been drafted, the level, areas and mechanisms of bilateral cooperation have been improved and upgraded, and pragmatic cooperation in various fields has been brought to a new level. China and Saudi Arabia signed 20 intergovernmental agreements and memorandums of understanding, including cooperation in hydrogen energy, justice, Chinese language education, housing, direct investment, radio and television, digital economy, economic development, standardization, news reporting, tax administration, and anticorruption. The need to strengthen cooperation in energy, investment, finance, agriculture, information and communication, transportation and logistics was also emphasized. The joint statement of the ChinaGulf Cooperation Council Summit stressed that the two sides should continue to deepen cooperation in energy, trade, investment, finance, industry, high-tech, aerospace, health and other fields. Bilateral exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, tourism, journalism, sports and other fields will be encouraged. Friendly exchanges between think tanks of both sides to promote people-to-people exchanges are supported. The Riyadh Declaration of the China-Arab States Summit calls for strengthening allround and multi-level exchanges between China and Arab countries, promoting synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development vision of Arab countries, and achieving mutual benefits and win-win results. China supports Arab countries in adopting a “balanced approach” to promoting energy transformation and green development. At the China-Arab State Summit, President Xi proposed “eight major cooperation initiatives” for pragmatic cooperation between China and Arab States and mapped out key directions of cooperation.

Going forward

The successful convening of the first China-Arab States Summit has provided a higher-level platform for the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future. It has deepened the vision and defined the path of China-Arab cooperation with a future-oriented attitude. In the declaration of the summit, the two sides agreed to make all-out efforts to build a China-Arab community with a shared future oriented toward the new era. The aim is to strengthen China-Arab solidarity and coordination, promote national rejuvenation, advance regional peace and development, uphold international fairness and justice, and contribute to the building of a human community with a shared future. The Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, both proposed by China, focus on the core task of development, enhancing the development capacity of Arab countries, responding to their security concerns, and working to address the deficit in regional peace, development, security and governance, thus contributing to peace and stability in the Middle East. At present, 17 Arab countries have supported the Global Development Initiative, and 15 Arab countries have become members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Looking ahead, the efforts of the two sides to build a China-Arab community with a shared future will also make greater contribution to the building of a human community with a shared future.


Zhou Zhiqiang is a research fellow from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Fudan University.

Editor:Yu Hui

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