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China, Kuwait eye closer friendship, cooperation

Updated: 2014-06-04 10:12 (Xinhua)

China, Kuwait eye closer friendship, cooperation

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang holds a welcoming ceremony for Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, June 3, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Kuwaiti Prime minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah here on Tuesday and they pledged to cement friendship and boost cooperation between the two nations.

Hailing China and Kuwait as trustworthy friends and sincere partners, Li said the Chinese side stands ready to increase high-level interactions and enhance political mutual trust with the Kuwaiti side, and support each other with Kuwait on issues involving their core interests and major concerns to lead the bilateral relationship to a new height.

The Chinese premier proposed the two countries expand cooperation in trade, investment, finance and infrastructure construction and other areas.

China is willing to participate in Kuwait's railway projects and also welcomes the Kuwaiti side to the building of the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century maritime Silk Road as well as the preparation for an Asian infrastructure investment bank, Li said.

On energy cooperation, Li hopes the Kuwaiti side will open up the upstream oil and gas industry to Chinese companies.

He also suggested the two countries increase people-to-people exchanges to promote their mutual understanding and enhance coordination in international and regional affairs to safeguard peace and stability.

Li said the Chinese side attaches great importance to the relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the League of Arab States, and is appreciative of Kuwait's efforts to promote the relationship.

The GCC, a regional political and economic alliance set up in 1981, includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. China started FTA negotiations with the bloc in July, 2004 and had five rounds of talks and two panel meetings before talks stalled after 2009.

During Tuesday's talks, Li said he hopes Kuwait will help to restart and complete the FTA talks between China and the GCC, as well as contribute to the growth of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) and the strategic cooperation between China and Arab countries.

Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Kuwait is committed to the development of the ties with China, willing to increase high-level visits between the two countries and boost cooperation in various areas with a view to shared development.

China is a good friend of Arab states and the Kuwaiti side appreciates China's constructive role in international and regional affairs, said the visiting prime minister, adding that the Kuwaiti side will continue playing an active part in promoting the relationship between China and Arab states as well as between China and the GCC.

After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of a string of bilateral deals, involving trade, finance, energy and aviation.

Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah arrived in Beijing on Monday for a four-day official visit to China at Li's invitation. The Kuwaiti prime minister will also attend the opening ceremony of the sixth CASCF ministerial meeting slated for Thursday.

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