Commitment to stability
Updated: 2012-01-20 08:09
Premier Wen Jiabao's six-day trip to the Arabian Peninsula has brought China's bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to a new level. It has also enhanced China's cooperation with regional organizations including the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
With the United States exerting unprecedented pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, the Gulf region is the focus of global attention. Many fear that the US-led West's tightening sanctions on Iran will trigger repercussions in the global petroleum market. Worse, if the US chooses to solve its confrontation with Iran by force, the region will be plunged even deeper into crisis.
Against such a gloomy outlook, the pledge by China and the three Arab countries to step up cooperation has sent a positive signal to the rest of the world, as China's commitment to expanding cooperation with the three nations in an all-round way will contribute to regional peace and development.
China's traditional friendship with Arab countries and the entire Muslim world has been greatly strengthened in recent years, especially after the establishment of the Sino-Arab Cooperation Forum in 2004. The two sides have created more than a dozen mechanisms under the new platform to advance bilateral interaction in such areas as energy, trade, finance, agriculture, environmental protection, infrastructure and tourism.
Equality, mutual respect and mutual benefits have been the key to flourishing Sino-Arab cooperation over the years and they have set an example in South-South cooperation and exchanges.
The series of agreements signed between China and the three countries are just some of the fruits of Wen's visits. During his trip, China and the GCC also agreed to speed up negotiations on a free trade agreement. The agreement will be a major boost to trade and economic cooperation between China and the GCC, and it will enhance their overall relationship and have a positive influence on global trade.
Wen also discussed a wide range of regional and international issues of mutual concern with Arab leaders. Such high-level interaction facilitates mutual understanding, helps build mutual political trust and paves the way for greater collaboration on regional and international issues.
Given that the Arab world has undergone sweeping changes over the past year, Wen's call for an end to violence against civilians and support to the people in the countries concerned underscores China's consistent perspective on such matters, and epitomizes the country's commitment to peace and stability in the Gulf region and beyond.
(China Daily 01/20/2012 page8)