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Sino-Arab Cooperation: on the right way?

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-10-2015 18:09 BJT

By H.Karoui,  Analyst, Expert on the MENA region

On July 10, 2015, at the Headquarters of the Arab League, in Cairo, the 12th session of the Sino-Arab Forum kicked off, without much surprise.

The China-Arab Cooperation Forum was established in January 2004 following a joint announcement of China and Arab states at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo and with a focus on long-term growth of China-Arab relations in the new century. It was a natural outcome of the growing political mutual trust and thriving practical cooperation between the two sides and was a highly relevant new measure taken by the two sides to ride the tide of globalization and regional cooperation. The establishment of the Forum, rooted in time-honored friendship, driven by mutually beneficial cooperation and aimed at common development, was a reflection of the strategic will and common choice of China and the Arab states.

A decade of efforts through thick and thin has now come to fruition. The China-Arab Cooperation Forum has developed, under the Forum's framework, over ten cooperation mechanisms including the Ministerial Conference, the Senior Officials' Meeting, the business conference & investment seminar, the seminar on China-Arab relations and inter-civilization dialogue, the friendship conference, the conference on energy cooperation, the forum on media cooperation, the senior health officials meeting and the Arab arts festival in China and Chinese arts festival in Arab states. With such tremendous enrichment of friendly exchanges and increased variety of win-win cooperation models, the China-Arab Cooperation Forum has become an important brand leading the growth of China-Arab relations.

At the Forum's sixth Ministerial Conference (5 June 2014), the two sides adopted a Beijing Declaration, an action plan for 2014-2016, and a development plan for 2014-2024 to draw up an ambitious blueprint for the development of China-Arab relations and that of the Forum in the coming decade.

The two sides decided to further deepen the strategic cooperative relations based on "all-round cooperation and common development", stressing in this context on the following:

- Intensification of high-level political consultations and promoting mutual support for issues related to the vital interests of mutual concern, and the exchange of expertise in the area of good governance and development.

- Enhancing the opportunities for economic cooperation and taking advantage of the economic strengths on each side, so to achieve mutual benefit. In this context, the Arab side welcomes the Chinese initiative on the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The two sides expressed their willingness to continue expanding the volume of bilateral trade and investment between them, creating basic infrastructure, and developing sectoral cooperation, especially in the fields of energy, finances, and human resources development.

- Welcoming the year “2014-2015" as that of Sino-Arab friendship, enhancing mutual understanding and affinity between the Arab and Chinese peoples through the establishment of cooperation activities in the fields of economy, commerce, culture, education, science, technology, media, health, youth women, and others.

- Developing mechanisms of cooperation within the framework of the Forum, and seizing the opportunity of the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Forum to expand areas of cooperation to new heights according to a clear development plan.

The two sides adopted "the executive program of the Forum on China-Arab Cooperation: 2014-2016" and "the decimal development plan of the Forum on China-Arab cooperation during the period 2014-2024," according to the provisions of the “ Beijing Declaration" in letter and spirit.

In conclusion, the two sides expressed full satisfaction for the success of the Sixth session, and  welcomed the convening of the Seventh session of the Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Arab cooperation in the State of Qatar in 2016, and the Twelfth session of the meeting of senior officials in the Arab Republic of Egypt in 2015.

Doha will also host in 2015, the Sixth session of the Conference on Sino-Arab relations and Dialogue between Chinese and Arab civilizations. This will be an opportunity to address the issues that need more consultation  and coordination between the two sides. These issues include in the short and midterm at least two dimensions: one economic, and one geopolitical.

The economic dimension needs a focus on the FTA negotiations between China and its Arab partners, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with addressing issues related to Energy.

The geopolitical concerns are of  great signification both to China and its Arab partners (such as radical Islamism, intelligence and security coordination to counter the terrorist threat, specific needs in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, etc…)

However, some experts consider that in order to reap real benefits after a decade of cooperation and dialogue, it is time now to realize that without political will and sustained efforts from both sides, especially concerning security and political coordination, the relations could stick at the same point, while speeches will always show enthusiasm for still a far-fetched, though noble end.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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