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Silk Road should be focus of Sino-Arabian relations

2014-06-05 08:23 China Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing

Officials and analysts said China and Arab countries should focus on the new Silk Roads when they meet on Thursday to map out a 10-year cooperation plan.

Foreign ministers and representatives of China and 19 Arab countries, as well as the secretary-general of the League of Arab States, will gather in Beijing on Thursday for the sixth China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.

President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony and deliver a speech.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrote in an article published in People's Daily on Tuesday that "the two sides need to plan their relations in the next 10 years around building the new Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road".

The proposal "One Belt, One Road" put forward by Xi last year is a major initiative for deepening China's reform and opening-up, especially to its neighbors to the west. The vision aims to achieve common prosperity for all through people-to-people exchanges and connections in politics, transportation, trade and currency.

The Silk Road Economic Belt stretches from China to Europe through West Asia, and the maritime road extends from China to the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf through Southeast Asia.

Wang said Arab states, at the western end of the economic belt and Maritime Silk Road, are "natural and important cooperation partners" in realizing the vision.

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming said on Tuesday at a seminar that the Silk Road initiative will benefit all sides in terms of capital, technology, resources and trade.

Arab representatives at the seminar said now is the right time to revitalize the ancient Silk Road. Former Jordanian prime minister Abdelsalam al-Majali suggested a joint financial system should be set up involving countries along the Silk Road, with the headquarters in Beijing and branches in other countries.

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, who is visiting China, will attend Thursday's forum. He told Xi on Wednesday that his country is eager to participate in the development of the Silk Road.

In the past decade, China-Arab trade volume has increased 25 percent year-on-year to more than $238 billion last year. China is the second-largest trading partner for Arab nations.

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