Making_Making Strides

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 美文摘抄 点击:

  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of Sino-Arab diplomatic ties. China established diplomatic relations with Egypt, Syria and Yemen on May 30, August 1 and September 24, 1956, respectively. As Egypt became the first Arab and African nation to recognize the People’s Republic of China, Sino-Arab relations moved into a new era. By the 1990s, all 22 members of the League of Arab States (LAS) had established diplomatic relations with China.
  Over the past half century, in spite of the volatile international situation, changes in the political regimes of Arab countries and adjustments to China’s foreign policy, relations between China and the Arab world have made constant headway, with bilateral bonds cemented due to their deep friendship and shared mission. Enjoying sound diplomatic relations, China and the 22 Arab nations have seen bilateral and multilateral cooperation among them making great strides.
  Notable achievements
  Sharing similar views on many international and regional issues, China and the Arab nations support and coordinate with each other on various fronts.
  In the political field, Arab countries render strong support to China on the human rights and Taiwan issues. China, for its part, consistently stands for the just cause of the Arab people. It demands that Israel end its occupation of Arab lands under relevant UN resolutions and ensure the lawful rights of the Palestinian people. It supports the Middle East peace process and the “road map” for that process, and has made unremitting efforts in this respect.
  In recent years, Sino-Arab political exchanges have gained momentum with frequent high-level visits. Arab leaders such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Jordanian King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein have visited China. During his visit to the LAS headquarters in January 2004, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with LAS Secretary General Amr Mahmoud Moussa, proposing a series of guidelines for developing Sino-Arab relations in the new century.
  After the meeting, the two leaders proclaimed the founding of the China-Arab Nations Cooperation Forum, a landmark event in the development of bilateral relations. During his visit to Egypt in June, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Nazef signed an implementation outline for deepening strategic and cooperative relations between the two countries, reaffirming their commitment to enrich and deepen bilateral strategic cooperation.
  Economic and trade cooperation also grew rapidly. The trade volume between China and the Arab world reached $51.27 billion in 2005, a 39.67 percent rise from the previous year. Among the Arab countries, the China-Saudi Arabia trade volume reached $16.07 billion last year, up 56 percent year on year, and the trade volume between China and the United Arab Emirates hit $10.77 billion, up 32.3 percent.
  In order to spur trade with the Arab nations, the Export-Import Bank of China has approved export sellers’ credits―government-sponsored credits provided by the bank to Chinese exporters―worth $3 billion over the past five years to finance trade with the Arab nations.
  To date, China’s investment in the Arab countries has reached over $5 billion. Investment from Arab countries in China totals $700 million. For example, in 2003, Sinopec and Saudi Aramco established a joint venture in Saudi Arabia, 80 percent of which is owned by Sinopec. The company won a bid to develop a 388 million square km gas field in the Rub al-Khali Desert in eastern Saudi Arabia in March 2004.
  In addition, Sinopec, Exxon Mobil and Saudi Aramco jointly invested in a refinery plant in Fujian Province, of which the three companies own 50 percent, 25 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Construction on the $3.5 billion project began last July, and the plant is expected to begin operation in the first half of 2008. In March 2004, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development extended 10.8 million Kuwaiti dinars of low-interest loans to the Hohhot-Jungar railway project in Inner Mongolia.
  Sino-Arab exchanges over the years have been a process during which two distinctive civilizations merge. Despite their differences in history, culture, social system and development mode, China and Arab countries all stand for cultural diversity and dialogue between different civilizations. China has signed cultural cooperation agreements with many Arab countries, documents that provide an important platform for various forms of bilateral cultural exchanges. Some universities in Egypt such as Ain Shams University and Cairo University run Chinese departments to teach Chinese language and culture.
  Coordination between China and the Arab countries on major international affairs has strengthened. Over the past 50 years, many events with global implications have taken place in the Arab world, such as Middle East wars, the Gulf war, the Iraq war, the Palestinian issue and devastating terrorist attacks. China and the Arab countries conducted extensive consultations on these issues. They also held consultations on the UN reform and reached a broad consensus.
  Forging links
  As China and the Arab nations do not have any fundamental conflicts or historical problems, friendship and cooperation are the themes that dominate their relations. However, while enjoying solid political bonds, China and the Arab countries are haunted by many problems in their cooperation. For example, the general public does not know much about each other’s culture. People-to-people linkages have yet to be promoted. Cooperation in tourism is developing only slowly.
  Worse still, economic and trade cooperation between China and the Arab countries is limited. China’s annual trade volume with Japan, the United States, the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and South Korea can reach over $1 trillion. By contrast, its trade volume with all Arab countries is only some $50 billion. While China attracts over $50 billion in foreign investment, only a small fraction comes from Arab countries. China’s investment in the Arab countries is insignificant, too.
  As a matter of fact, China and the Arab nations have complementary advantages in their economies. As the largest developing country in the world, China boasts a huge consumer market. Ever since its accession to the World Trade Organization, it has stepped up its integration into the global market. China’s comparative advantages lie in science and technology, human resources, labor and capital. With a total population of 270 million, the Arab world offers boundless market potential in labor services, finance, tourism, science and technology, and natural resources.
  In particular, the Arab countries are endowed with huge oil reserves. Some 70 percent of the world’s verified oil reserves are concentrated in these countries. Their oil output accounts for 30 percent of the world’s total. Moreover, the Arab countries have 22.4 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and are responsible for 8 percent of the world’s natural gas output. With low costs and huge output, the Arab countries are a major energy supplier to the world. China imported some 122.8 million tons of crude oil in 2004, 40.9 percent of which was from Arab countries.
  At present, the Arab countries are redoubling their efforts to boost their national economies through cooperating with other countries, while China is eager to collaborate with others to foster a well-off society at home. There is a mounting urgency for the two sides to further their cooperation.
  With their respective advantages, China and the Arab countries stand a great chance of achieving common development through cooperation. On the one hand, they are expected to put into practice all the existing programs in a coordinated manner. On the other hand, they should explore new ways and areas for their cooperation. Entrepreneurs, in particular, should ponder how to expand the trade links between China and the Arab countries.
  One of the major stumbling blocks for across-the-board cooperation between China and the Arab countries is the lack of communication. While pursuing a proper solution to this problem, we should see to it that each other’s different views are always understood and respected. China and the Arab countries are expected to improve their political and economic consultation mechanism with enhanced mutual trust so that they can develop long-term plans for cooperation in a pragmatic manner. More dialogue and exchanges need to be conducted at different levels in various areas.
  The role of the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum should be given full play. Within this framework, more mechanisms aimed at pragmatic cooperation should be established. They could take small steps at first and gradually move onto big, demanding tasks. In addition to the forum, other forms of cooperation, such as cooperation between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council and bilateral cooperation between China and the Arab countries, should be fully exploited.
  In the academic community, more research should be carried out on each other’s culture. Although the Chinese and Arabs are both “Oriental,” their civilizations are glaringly different. They also differ from each other in their thinking patterns, living customs, interests and personalities. Scholars are expected to study these differences and inform the public about their findings in the spirit of enhancing understanding between the Chinese and Arab peoples. This initiative is crucial, as promoting dialogue, exchanges and cooperation between civilizations is believed to be a shared mission of human-kind in the 21st century.

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