Towards the golden age of Sino-Arab relations | Daily News Byte

Towards the golden age of Sino-Arab relations

 | Daily News Byte


Lee Min/China Daily

President Xi Jinping’s recent three-day visit to Saudi Arabia revealed many astonishing factors while building greater cooperation in many fields. While President Xi attended summits and met with leaders of the Gulf countries, the Chinese side signed several memorandums of understanding to further deepen trade and investment with countries in the region. The China-Gulf summit was also held during Xi’s three-day visit to the region.

A total of 34 investment agreements were signed in sectors such as energy (green hydrogen and solar), information technology, cloud technology, transportation, logistics, pharmaceuticals, housing and construction, signaling the emergence of a new era of cooperation between China and Arab countries. States. In fact, joint cooperation between China and Arab states in areas such as economy and oil/gas trade has been a turning point in development.

Multilateral engagement will benefit the entire region, not least because China is known for its strong policies and smooth implementation of projects. In this aspect, the decision of the Gulf countries to further open their borders to China could be a game changer.

Awarding Xi an honorary doctorate from King Saud University shows that the Arab world trusts China’s leadership and believes that its engagement with China will enable mutual prosperity for all parties involved.

The new initiatives reflect two major development initiatives. One is Saudi Vision 2030, which is a strategic framework aimed at reducing Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil, diversifying its economy and expanding public service areas such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.

One of the main goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 is to promote a softer and more secular image of the country while boosting economic and investment activity. In this aspect, greater connectivity with China can help Saudi Arabia achieve its goals by 2030, including the construction of Neom City (a smart city in Tabuk province in the northwestern part of the country), the Red Sea Project and the Middle East Green Initiative.

Another initiative is to deepen Saudi Arabia’s participation in China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative. The countries involved in the initiative proposed by China have confidence in the Chinese leadership and believe that the multilateral project to improve connectivity among economies will accelerate their socio-economic development and bring shared prosperity, and the Saudi Vision 2030 complements the Belt and Road Initiative in this regard.

The strategic goal of the Belt and Road Initiative is to improve logistics and infrastructure connectivity while promoting trade and investment. On the other hand, the goal of Saudi Vision 2030 is to create a diversified economy that does not depend only on oil trade. Therefore, expanding cooperation between Saudi Arabian and Chinese enterprises can help diversify investment and trade ties, covering not only large-scale infrastructure construction, but also fields such as digital innovation and new energy development.

Chinese companies have progressively increased their presence in Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical industry. But their increasing involvement in Saudi Arabia must also keep pace with the provisions of a new memorandum of understanding signed between the Saudi Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec).

Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly evaluate refining and petrochemical integration opportunities, including services and technologies. Other areas of engagement under the Belt and Road framework include (but are not limited to) facilitating the clean energy transition, investing in renewable energy sources, and integrating hydrogen supply chains.

Any new development initiatives under Xi’s leadership will strengthen China-Saudi ties, as his dynamic policy of openness is known to promote inclusive socio-economic progress. The fact that President Xi’s plane was escorted by four Royal Saudi Air Force fighter jets after entering Saudi Arabian airspace and six Saudi Arabian planes after entering Riyadh’s airspace reflects the importance Saudi Arabia attaches to its relationship with China.

China-Saudi Arabia cooperation is expected to reach new heights through the implementation of the agreement and help the Gulf region overcome existing and new challenges on the way to building a regional community with a shared future.

And since Pakistan has brotherly relations with both the Arab world and China, it hopes that the two sides will achieve their goals and build a better future for humanity.

The author is the Executive Director of the Pakistan Research Center for a Community with a Shared Future, Islamabad. Views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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