Friendly Relations between China and Gulf Countries Root in People


CPC News, Dec. 13--The China-GCC States Forum on Sustainable Development, co-organized by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC) and the Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), was held in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, from December 11 to 12. On Wednesday afternoon, Vice Minister Li Jinjun of the IDCPC talked to CPC News about the outcomes of the forum.

CPC News (C): Could you please give us some general information about the forum? 

Li Jinjun (L): In the past two days, political leaders, scholars and business leaders from China and the GCC states engaged in friendly, in-depth and comprehensive exchanges under the theme "Cement the Traditional Friendship, Deepen All-Around Cooperation and Promote Sustainable Development." In their resourceful presentations, delegates introduced the policies and development strategies of their respective countries, and discussed ways towards a new phase of win-win cooperation for sustainable development. In the heated discussions at the dialogue sessions, we shared wisdom and explored possibilities of cooperation through face-to-face engagement and heart-to-heart communication, further strengthening the public support to friendly cooperation between China and the GCC states. In our visits to Masdar City and other projects, we learnt about the successful experience of the GCC states, represented by the UAE, in their efforts towards technological innovation, energy conservation, and environmental protection through sustainable development. With various activities, the forum addressed both strategic and practical issues, engaging both official and nongovernmental participants and turned out a great success in allowing China and the GCC states to exchange ideas on development, strengthen practical cooperation, and promote people-to-people dialogue.

C: What have been achieved by the forum? 

L: First of all, the forum enabled countries involved to gain a deeper understanding of sustainable development, and promoted exchanges and mutual learning of development ideas among them. Through the talks, we learnt that the GCC states have long employed sustainable development strategies featuring economic and energy diversification, and technological innovation depending on local professionals. Giving high priority to balancing development and environmental protection, they have achieved remarkable successes in areas like renewable energy, green economy and financial innovation. Meanwhile, our friends from the GCC states also had a better understanding of China's Scientific Outlook on Development, which means to put people first and seek comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development. China's endeavors to accelerate the change of its growth model, encourage technological advancement and innovation, improve people's living standards, and build a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society resonate well with them.

Second, the forum explored and identified new opportunities for the two sides to cooperate in the process of sustainable development, and found new areas for win-win cooperation. All participants agreed that much can be done in the future through cooperation in new areas such as new energy, new materials, energy saving, environmental protection, human resource training and financial services, and that cooperation in these areas is in line with the shared aspirations and long-term interests of both sides.

Third, the forum served as an effective platform for exchange of development ideas and business cooperation, delivering tangible results. On the sidelines of the official meeting, two dialogue sessions were held respectively for scholars and entrepreneurs from China and the GCC states. Both saw good results. Memoranda on cooperation were signed between the China Foundation for Peace and Development and the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, and between the China NGO Network for International Exchanges and Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Many entrepreneurs also reached and signed cooperation agreements.

C: Under new conditions, what can be done to further deepen friendly cooperative relations between China and the GCC states? 

L: Further promoting sustainable development in China and the GCC states is not only our shared aspiration, but shared responsibility as well.

To promote sustainable economic and social development in China and the GCC states, innovative ideas and experience-sharing are crucial. According to their respective national conditions and the requirements of the times, China as well as the GCC states should learn from other countries' successful ideas and experience, keep picking up new ideas and making changes in practice, and join hands to promote sustainable development. Exchanges and mutual learning on this forum are but a good start. More in-depth, sustained and professional discussions are needed in the future.

In order to keep our practical cooperation going, we must expand of cooperation scope and upgrade cooperation level. As both China and the GCC states are carrying out economic transformation and adjusting their roles in international cooperation, it is the general trend that the two sides seize the opportunities brought about by the times to strive for a new breakthrough of practical cooperation. The Chinese side has the following suggestions: first, go beyond simple trading of crude oil to strengthen in-depth cooperation along the whole petroleum value chain; second, go beyond primary merchandise trade to seek effective methods of cooperation in capital, technologies and human resources; third, go beyond traditional areas of infrastructure building and telecommunication to engage on new grounds such as new energy, new materials, energy saving and environmental protection; and fourth, go beyond the existing cooperation model to promote regional cooperation between China and the GCC states with broader vision, and work for an early conclusion of the negotiations towards a China-GCC FTA.

In order to ensure lasting friendly exchanges between China and the GCC states, we need to depend on the people, especially the youth. Under the new conditions, the two sides can hold a variety of activities, such as people-to-people forums, seminars, culture weeks and summer camps, for closer exchanges among different circles of China and the GCC states, such as scholars, artists, young students or the general public, thus enabling people, especially young people, of the two sides to have direct contacts. In this way, we can increase mutual understanding, dispel misgivings, resolve differences, and deepen friendship, to ensure that friendly relations between China and the GCC states are rooted deep in people's hearts and will be passed on from generation to generation.

To make this Forum on Sustainable Development a regular event, we must in the first place improve its mechanism and ensure implementation of its outcomes. With extraordinary organization efforts of the hosting UAE government, and joint efforts of all participants, the China-GCC States Forum on Sustainable Development, the first of its kind, has been a full success. We are now thinking about the "sustainable development" the forum itself – how to institutionalize it into a regular platform for China and the GCC states to exchange ideas on development and incubate cooperation. After the forum, the GCC Secretariat, the UAE organizer and participants from other countries will evaluate the results of the forum, and discuss over specific measures to improve the mechanism and ensure implementation of the outcomes. China will work together with the 6 Gulf nations on the institutionalization of the Forum on Sustainable Development, and looks forward to hosting the next forum at a proper time decided by the two sides.