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China-Middle East ties strengthened amid pandemic

Author  :  WANG CHUNYAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-07-25


A worker delivers anti-coronavirus medial materials from China during a handover ceremony at the headquarters of Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, July 5. Photo: Ahmed Gomaa/XINHUA

Experts shed light on cooperation between China and the Middle East amid the COVID-19 pandemic at an international webinar in mid-July.

China and the Arab nations have a long history of friendly exchange, said Xie Fuzhan, president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Linked by the Silk Road, the two sides have embraced the Silk Road spirit of “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit.” Under this spirit, the Chinese and Arab peoples have supported each other in safeguarding national dignity, defending national sovereignty, exploring the paths of development and national rejuvenation, and learning from each other in the great cause of deepening cultural exchange and boosting national culture. 

The sudden hit of the novel coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted world economic growth and people’s lives, posing an unprecedented challenge to the development, stability and security of all countries, Xie continued. The global spread of the pandemic has raised awareness across the globe that countries have intertwined interests and destinies. The only right thing to do is fight the pandemic and overcome difficulties in solidarity.

The friendship between the UAE and China has once again been demonstrated during epidemic prevention and control, said Hamid M.K. Al-Naimiy, chancellor of the University of Sharjah in the UAE. The two sides have supported and cooperated with each other, donated anti-epidemic materials to each other, and worked together to fight the pandemic. This webinar is also itself an important manifestation of the bilateral cooperation. 

When fighting the pandemic, Saudi Arabia and China have maintained close communication and carried out timely and effective cooperation, said Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia. At the outbreak of the epidemic, both sides offered sympathy, support and material assistance.

Saudi Arabia and China should strengthen cooperation in international governance and support the central role of the United Nations, Al-Faisal continued. In terms of economic development and poverty alleviation, all countries should work together to support the role of the World Trade Organization; in epidemic prevention and control, policy should be coordinated to support the WHO, and other international organizations and institutions should be given space to play their roles. 

Al-Faisal emphasized that Saudi Arabia supports the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative and believes it can benefit the countries concerned. The B&R initiative will facilitate the construction of infrastructure projects, create job opportunities, promote economic prosperity, and have a profound impact on current and future development. In the post-pandemic era, countries will have more opportunities for cooperation in the technical and financial fields, and Saudi Arabia and China should strengthen cooperation at national and regional levels.

Zhai Jun, Chinese special envoy on Middle East affairs and former vice foreign minister, said that the pandemic has brought us a series of profound revelations: The destinies of all countries are closely connected, and there is a community of shared future for mankind. When dealing with the pandemic, restoring the economy, stabilizing society, and safeguarding the interests of the country and the nation, we must adhere to solidarity, cooperation, fairness and justice while upholding multilateralism. In light of the new situation, we must cooperate more closely than ever before and stand in solidarity against the pandemic and the various challenges that may arise now and in the future. 

Sherif Ismail, former prime minister of Egypt, said that our civilization is facing serious threats in health and other fields. All countries should establish a coordination mechanism to jointly respond to the pandemic and promote economic and social development on this basis. The role of the B&R should be fully utilized to boost international cooperation.

Li Xinfeng, executive vice president of the China-Africa Institute, said that during this special period while fighting the pandemic, China and the countries of the Middle East have supported each other, united and cooperated, while jointly building the Health Silk Road. This profound friendship has demonstrated the concept of a community of shared future for mankind. 


(Edited and translated by JIANG HONG)





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