Trip, summits send positive signs to region

2022-12-08 08:16:05China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Experts say they hope to see increased collaboration in a wide range of fields

President Xi Jinping's visit to Saudi Arabia and his attendance at regional cooperation summits send a positive signal to the Gulf Cooperation Council region and beyond, experts said.

"The visit by Chinese President Xi is not only important to Saudi Arabia but also to the region and the world," said Abdulaziz Ben Munif Ben Razin, a consultant at the Center of Information and Arabian-Russian Studies in Riyadh.

Noting that China, which plays a key role in the world, has proved itself to be a peaceful country through its attitude toward key international issues like the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Abdulaziz said he expects Xi's visit to contribute to security in the GCC region and beyond.

Abdulaziz said he hopes to see more cooperation between China and regional countries in economic development, defense and counterterrorism.

Nasser Al Jaryad, chairman of the Saudi National Committee of Workers' Committees, said, "Today, we are happy because we are hosting the president of China."

Nasser said the summits will support regional development, especially given the fact that China's economy has developed rapidly.

"Arab countries, especially petroleum-producing countries, have invested in technology, the new economy and the future of work. That will help us start our cooperation with China and how we can deal with the new future of our region and China and others," said Nasser.

Amur Mohamed Alhajry, director general of the Council of Ministers of Labour and Council of Ministers of Social Affairs in GCC States Executive Bureau, said that relations between China and GCC countries have advanced significantly over the past two decades.

With China being a major trade partner of GCC countries, Alhajry said he expects to see closer trade exchanges between the two sides.

Noting that China and the GCC launched negotiations on a free-trade agreement in 2004, Alhajry said he hopes leaders at the upcoming summits will further discussions about the FTA.

"We are looking forward to free trade and … decreased taxes," he said.

Anis Khayati, assistant professor of economics and finance at the University of Bahrain, said Arab countries would benefit from Chinese technology and infrastructure investment.

Khayati said Chinese-Arab interests are intertwined in many fields, especially in the economy.

"In fact, trade exchanges between the two sides increased from $36.7 billion in 2004, at the launch of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, to $330 billion in 2021," said Khayati, citing data from the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science.

Redha bin Juma Al Saleh, former chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the summits will be essential for the Arab countries, and Xi's visit to Saudi Arabia will be a good step in enhancing bilateral relations.

Al Saleh said he believes there is a lot of potential for Sino-Arab cooperation in various areas, such as agriculture, food security, logistics and tourism.

Local media in Saudi Arabia are paying close attention to the visit by the Chinese president.

Citing reports by the official Saudi Press Agency, Arab News, a leading English-language newspaper in Saudi Arabia, carried a story on its front page on Wednesday that said Xi's visit reflects the desire of the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and China to strengthen bilateral relations, enhance their strategic partnership and realize political and economic potential to serve their common interests.


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