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China and Bahrain's ties ready to hit new heights

By His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ghassan Mohamed Adnan Shaikho | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-01-19 15:00
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LI MIN/CHINA DAILY

Entering a new year in 2023, we feel a sense of optimism as we look forward to new opportunities and the chance to realize our full potential. Whether it be in our personal life or professional careers, we all take pride in the continuous achievements of the Kingdom of Bahrain; and on the 14th of January, my colleagues and I take pride in celebrating the Day of Diplomacy of the Kingdom of Bahrain. In Bahrain, the 14th of January has been designated as a special day to honor the diplomats who consistently strive to advance the Kingdom’s foreign policy, values and interests, and to raise the country's global standing.

Over the past 50 years, the Kingdom of Bahrain has worked to drive forward its foreign policy and to promote the interests and rights of its citizens. In the light of the guidance of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the continuous support of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Foreign Policy is based on balance and moderation, seeking to support the efforts of the international community to enhance international peace and security, address global challenges and promote peaceful coexistence for all of humanity in an atmosphere of mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States.

Bahrain has a long history of encouraging and influencing the culture of peaceful coexistence among all nations and people of different religions and has earned its reputation as a peaceful nation that promotes prosperity for its people through mutual respect, transparency, solidarity and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States.

The official visit of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the People’s Republic of China in 2013, and the visit to the People’s Republic of China in 2002 by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and President of the Supreme Council for Women, as well as the meeting between His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, King of the Kingdom of Bahrain and His Excellency Mr. Xi Jinping, The Honorable President of the People's Republic of China during the Arab-China Summit and the GCC-China Summit in Riyadh in December 2022, further strengthened the excellent relations between the two friendly countries.

The Bahraini Ambassador to China. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The Kingdom of Bahrain is devoted to enhancing its position at both the regional and international levels by establishing relations and deepening its cooperation with many countries around the world. The Kingdom of Bahrain and the People's Republic of China established diplomatic relations 33 years ago and have been continuously developing their cooperation rapidly, building on the solid foundations of their partnership by expanding cooperation across various sectors including information and communication technologies, tourism, financial services, manufacturing, logistics, and others.

Bahrain is currently working on developing various plans and strategies to attract Chinese tourists to Bahrain through road shows, exhibitions and special tours, and has just recently opened the country's largest International Exhibition and Convention Center. This center can serve as an international multipurpose industry hub and give the People's Republic of China an extra means to promote its renowned products to international markets. Furthermore, Bahrain has already attracted some of the largest Chinese names to Bahrain who have made significant investments in the country, including the ICT giant, Huawei, and China International Marine Containers Company (CIMC). In 2014, Bahrain became the first GCC country to offer visas on arrival to Chinese tourists and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bahrain was among one of the first countries to approve the emergency use of Chinese-made vaccines.

Over the years, as Bahrain began its diversification journey, our two countries signed numerous agreements, protocols and MOUs to strengthen our partnership and collaboration across all fields. Today, oil represents less than 20% of our GDP and over 80% is in non-oil industries. Thanks to Bahrain’s efforts in streamlining commercial procedures to enhance the Kingdom’s attractiveness, Bahrain now boasts the region’s best value operating costs with a highly competitive taxation system and a highly skilled bilingual local workforce. At the heart of this success lies an agile and accessible ecosystem with a forward-thinking government and a clear vision for the future.

This year, Bahrain ranked first in multiple global indices, including the first in Mena for Financial Freedom, Investment Freedom, and Trade Freedom according to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom 2022 and first in Mena for Economic Freedom according to the Fraser Institute.

We are proud of our excellent and longstanding relations with the People's Republic of China and the remarkable accomplishments made by the diplomatic corps in both nations, and as we look to the future we hope to continue to prosper together. The excellent relations that so happily exist between our two friendly countries are developing and ascending to higher horizons.

The author is the Bahraini Ambassador to China. 

The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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