The story appears on

Page A4

April 29, 2024

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Opinion

Forum emphasizes BRI cooperation between China and Arab countries

Panelists from more than 10 countries explored a wide range of topics of common concern at a forum titled “The Belt and Road Initiative Ten Years On: Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects for China-Middle East Cooperation” in Shanghai last week.

“Last year marked the 10th anniversary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which emphasized high-quality development in Belt and Road cooperation,” said Wang Dezhong, president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Arab countries are the natural partners in Belt and Road cooperation, Wang added.

Over the decade through 2022, China had signed Belt and Road agreements with more than 20 Arab countries, with trade volume between China and Arab states exceeding US$400 billion in 2022.

During the past few years, mutual exchanges suffered as a result of COVID-19. But since last year, China has been recovering in terms of foreign exchanges.

“Today’s forum is part of this recovery,” said Wang.

He added that due to the temporary reduction in international exchanges, the outside world seemed to have some differences over China’s economic growth.

“As an economist, I could say with conviction here that the Chinese economy is performing well, and its momentum remains strong,” said Wang.

While there are some risks and challenges confronting the Chinese economy, they are all manageable, he said.

According to statistics, the GDP growth for 2023 was 5.2 percent. The just released growth for the first quarter of this year was 5.3 percent. While these are lacking compared with the double-digit growth rates during the earlier years of reforms and opening-up, the growth for China remains phenomenal in the global context.

“As a matter of fact, in our pursuit of economic growth, we have been attaching ever more importance to the quality of economic growth,” Wang said, adding that China will never run out of steam in its economic development and the doors to the outside world will remain open, in a bid to build a mutually beneficial and internationally cooperative economic relationship.

He said the world today is not peaceful, beset by a series of challenges.

“It was with great regret and sorrow that we have been witnessing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Gaza area since last year, not to say the recent escalations in military retaliations between Iran and Israel. These developments are not conducive to global stability and are causes for global concern,” Wang said.

On these issues China firmly stands on the side of justice and peace, he said, and appeals to all sides concerned to exercise restraint to prevent the situation from escalating further.

China has proposed three major initiatives, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, which would go a long way toward building a community of a shared future for mankind.

Tarik M. Yousef, director and senior fellow of the Middle East Council on Global Affairs, told the forum that he was gratified to be back to China with the resumption in scholarly exchanges and expressed the hope that mutual support, dedication and commitment in this endeavor might lead to other channels of cooperation and scholarly exchanges in the future.

He also cited the impact of COVID-19, growing global rivalry, dislocations and disruptions.

“We believe in the value of dialogue and we believe in the exchange of views, even if we have differences,” said Yousef.

He added that it is up to the Middle East and China to forge their own path, through cooperation and understanding, to achieve mutually acceptable and mutually beneficial goals, in spite of global dislocations and uncertainties.

The two-day forum consisted of multiple sessions that included “Future Cooperation in a New Geopolitical Environment,” “Evolving Geopolitics and Security in the Middle East,” “Belt and Road Initiative Cooperation on Investment, Trade, Energy and Finance” and “New Challenges and China’s Role in the Middle East.”

Countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are important partners of China, and a strategic fulcrum for implementing the Belt and Road Initiative. As China promotes its concept for global governance, amid an increasingly multipolar world, Middle East and North African countries have become China’s key allies.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend