Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying announced on December 7: At the invitation of King Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping will go to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from December 7 to 10 to attend the first China-Arab States Summit, China-Gulf Arab National Cooperation Council summit and state visit to Saudi Arabia.

  Some analysts pointed out that hosting the first China-Arab States Summit is a milestone event in the history of China-Arab relations and will push China-Arab cooperation to a new level.

Countries in the Middle East that have long suffered from hegemonism and geopolitical games are in urgent need of positive energy that can promote peace and development in the region.

After seeing through the essence of "America first", it has become the general trend for Arab countries in the Middle East to "look east".

The summit will push China-Arab relations to a new stage

  According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the first China-Arab Summit will be held in Saudi Arabia on December 9.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a regular press conference on December 7 that President Xi Jinping's attendance at the first China-Arab Summit was China's largest and highest-level diplomatic action towards the Arab world since the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is an epoch-making milestone in the development history of Afghanistan relations.

At present, the century-old changes are accelerating, the century-old epidemic has repeatedly delayed, and the world has entered a new period of turmoil and change. The holding of the first China-Arab Summit is a strategic choice for both sides to strengthen solidarity and cooperation under the current situation.

  The China-Arab States Summit is another milestone mechanism for China and Arab States to promote the development of bilateral relations after the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.

The summit will push China-Arab relations to a more glorious new stage, which indicates that the relationship between the two sides will be upgraded to a strategic level.

  In 2004, China and the League of Arab States announced the establishment of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.

After 18 years of development, 17 cooperation mechanisms have been established under the framework of the forum, covering politics, economy, security, humanities and other fields, and have become an important engine to promote the development of China-Arab relations.

Since 2012, the China-Arab strategic partnership has continued to make new progress, and the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" has continued to reach new heights.

China has signed cooperation documents on the joint construction of the "Belt and Road" with 20 Arab countries and the Arab League.

Liu Zhongmin, vice president of the China Middle East Society and professor of the Middle East Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, said that China and Arab states have established a comprehensive cooperation, common development, and future-oriented strategic partnership, and have established 12 pairs of strategic partnerships at the bilateral level. The cluster of strategic partnerships between China and Arab countries.

  The "Report on China-Arab Cooperation in the New Era" issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on December 1 clearly mentioned that the first China-Arab Summit will open up a broader prospect for the China-Arab strategic partnership.

The "Report" focuses on "building a China-Arab community with a shared future" and makes a systematic strategic plan for the comprehensive development of the future China-Arab strategic partnership, mainly including deepening strategic mutual trust politically and safeguarding common interests; Mutual benefit and win-win, create development and prosperity; promote peace and stability in security, and share long-term stability; expand civilization exchanges in culture, and advocate harmonious coexistence.

The "Report" pointed out that China is willing to take the opportunity of the first China-Arab States Summit to carry forward the traditional friendship between China and Arab countries together with Arab countries, continuously enrich and deepen the pattern of all-round, multi-level and wide-ranging cooperation between China and Arab states, and jointly build a new era-oriented China-Arab community with a shared future.

  At present, China is the largest trading partner of Arab countries.

In 2021, the stock of China-Arab two-way direct investment will reach 27 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 2.6 times compared with 10 years ago; the bilateral trade volume between China and Arab states will reach 330.3 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 1.5 times compared with 10 years ago.

In the first three quarters of this year, the trade volume between China and Arab states reached 319.295 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 35.28%, which is close to the level of the whole year of 2021, maintaining a momentum of rapid growth.

Under the framework of the "Belt and Road Initiative", the two sides have implemented more than 200 large-scale cooperation projects in the fields of energy and infrastructure, and jointly implemented the "Belt and Road" science and technology innovation action plan. New breakthroughs have been made in high-tech cooperation.

  Security is also a bright spot in China-Arab cooperation.

China has always adhered to a comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable new security concept, strengthened communication and coordination with Arab countries, and promoted the establishment of a Gulf security mechanism to promote the resolution of regional security issues such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Iranian nuclear issue.

  Professor Liu Zhongmin told the media earlier that under the current international environment, the first China-Arab Summit, which focuses on the long-term development of Arab countries, has become more significant.

The summit will push the communication mechanism between China and Arab countries to a higher stage, and help to further strengthen China-Arab cooperation in economy, trade, energy and other fields.

Putting Saudi Arabia at the forefront of China's overall diplomacy

  The choice of Saudi Arabia as the host country for the first China-Arab States Summit also demonstrates the importance China attaches to Sino-Saudi relations.

President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia in 2016, and this visit is President Xi's second state visit to Saudi Arabia after six years.

On October 27, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the fourth meeting of the Political and Diplomatic Subcommittee of the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal. priority position.

  For many years, China has been Saudi Arabia's largest trading partner, Saudi Arabia is China's largest trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa region, and it is also China's largest crude oil supplier.

According to the 2021 data released by China and Saudi Arabia, the Chinese market accounts for 27% of Saudi Arabia’s total crude oil exports. The bilateral trade volume between China and Saudi Arabia in the same year was 87.3 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of nearly 200 times compared with 418 million U.S. dollars when diplomatic relations were established in 1990 .

In the field of investment, China has also continuously increased its investment in Saudi Arabia. From 2005 to 2021, the total amount will reach 43.5 billion U.S. dollars. Saudi Arabia has become the largest recipient of Chinese contracts and investments in the Middle East.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia has or plans to invest in Chinese projects with a scale of 35 billion US dollars.

At the Future Investment Initiative Conference held in Saudi Arabia in October this year, Saudi companies were optimistic about China's economic development potential and made large investments in Chinese companies.

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Hulev said at the time that Saudi Arabia hopes to become a transit point for Chinese products and investment to go around the world, and hopes to learn more from China's experience to promote the rapid transformation of the Saudi economy.

  Saudi Arabia is a major energy country, with proven reserves of crude oil and natural gas ranking second and eighth in the world respectively.

Since 2016, in order to get rid of the single dependence on the oil economy and promote economic diversification, Saudi Arabia has launched a series of "Saudi-style reform and opening up", and launched the "2030 Vision" and "2020 National Economic Transformation Plan".

Among them, connecting the "Vision 2030" with the "Belt and Road" initiative has become a key starting point for Saudi Arabia to transform into a modern country.

The "German Economic News" website recently published an article saying that the current tension between Saudi Arabia and the United States is pushing Saudi Arabia to strengthen cooperation with China.

China has participated in some major projects in Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" plan, including the NEOM future smart city built by Saudi Arabia at a cost of 500 billion US dollars, the high-speed rail from Mecca to Medina, and King Salman's Ras al-Hare Industrial City. International comprehensive port facilities and other projects.

  In addition to trade and investment cooperation, China-Saudi Arabia cooperation has also expanded to broader areas.

Since the beginning of this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has repeatedly expressed Saudi Arabia's desire to join the BRICS.

As the chairman of the BRICS this year, China clearly supports and welcomes this.

Arab countries look to the East to find their way to the future

  Regarding the upcoming first China-Arab States Summit, Western public opinion once again has a "sour grapes mentality", constantly hyping the so-called "power vacuum theory in the Middle East" and "China-Saudi relations are incomparable with US-Saudi relations".

However, more rational analysts believe that after seeing through the "America First" attitude, it is the general trend for Arab countries in the Middle East to "look east".

  In early March this year, after experiencing conflicts in Yemen, conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, and the oil production cuts between the United States and Saudi Arabia, Saudi Crown Prince Salman bluntly stated in an interview with the Atlantic Monthly that Saudi Arabia could choose to reduce investment in the United States.

Professor Liu Zhongmin believes that the policies and measures of the United States in the Middle East are all based on their own interests. In order to serve their own interests, they force regional alliance countries to submit, and even suppress some countries for this purpose.

Such an approach is naturally opposed by Middle Eastern countries.

The German newspaper Die Welt also reported that the U.S.-Saudi rivalry just reflects the transformation of relations between the West and the Gulf countries. The former Arab allies no longer listen to the orders of the United States, and they choose to make decisions based on their own interests.

Croft, head of global commodity strategy and Middle East and North Africa research at Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets, believes that Saudi Arabia is adjusting its diplomatic direction and is more inclined to establish a series of multi-level relationships, especially to explore its own future in the East .

  Aim Kamal, director of the Middle East and North Africa business of the political risk consulting company "Eurasia Group", recently said that from a strategic point of view, Saudi Arabia hopes to have a good relationship with Beijing, because the other party is an indispensable economic partner.

He said Saudi Arabia was working on a new strategy, and "of course there are risks in strengthening relations with China, which could lead to a (further) split in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia."

  If we say that in the first ten years of the 21st century, Middle Eastern countries "looked east" mainly because of the surge in oil exports to China, then the current wave of "looking east" or even "going east" is because the United States has stepped up its efforts in the Middle East. After the strategic contraction, Middle Eastern countries urgently need to bring positive energy to promote peace and development in the region, and cooperation with China has become a reliable option for them to achieve their goals of partner diversification, economic diversification and market diversification.

As Helena Legada, an expert on China studies and security at the Berlin Institute for Economic Research in Germany, said, Saudi Arabia and other countries are not simply trying to find a balance between China and the United States. "Some Middle Eastern countries believe that they are too dependent on the West, and China is providing them with Opportunities for diversification and hedging.”

  Newspaper, Beijing, December 7th

  China Youth Daily China Youth Daily reporter Chen Xiaoru Source: China Youth Daily