WIN-WIN FOR CHINA-KUWAIT TIES
KUWAIT CITY, July 8, (KUNA): His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said China could help set up industrial and high-tech parks in northern Kuwait, part of the country’s strategic plans to diversify its economy and be a global trade and financial hub.
The Chinese contribution will help achieve Kuwait government’s 2035 national development strategy. His Highness the Amir, in an interview with Chinese Xinhua News Agency on the occasion of his visit to China, said the strategic development plan aimed at achieving a strategic transformation into a diversified economy, as well as being an international trade and financial center capable of attracting multi-faceted investments.
His Highness the Amir, who arrived in China earlier Saturday, hoped China would help establish industrial and high-tech parks in northern Kuwait. “We encourage the Chinese business and financial institutions to operate here,” said His Highness the Amir. His Highness the Amir, who would be meeting senior Chinese officials, would be attending the opening ceremony of the 8th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing.
Commenting on China’s Belt and Silk Road Initiative, His Highness the Amir said Kuwait was among the first countries to sign a cooperation agreement with Beijing under the initiative. The initiative, consisting of Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, is designed to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
His Highness the Amir said the 2013 initiative was compatible with Kuwait’s strategic development plans, and would help his country, which in 2015 announced a plan to develop its islands, achieve its development goals. China is Kuwait’s largest source of imports, as trade volume reached a record $12.04 billion in 2017, according to Xinhua, while Kuwait is China’s fourth largest crude oil supplier in the Arab world.
There are currently more than 40 Chinese companies operating in Kuwait with about 80 projects in progress in sectors of oil, infrastructure, communications and banking. “I wish to emphasize that we are proud of the significant role which is played by Chinese enterprises in the development of our country,” His Highness the Amir said. “Chinese companies are highly professional and we are very happy to cooperate with them,” towards more large-scale development projects in Kuwait, which was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, His Highness noted. He went on to say the development of partnership and bilateral cooperation with China on the basis of mutual benefit contributed to better well-being of Kuwaiti and Chinese people as well as common progress.
His Highness the Amir said Kuwait and China maintained strong political and economic relations, and his China visit “demonstrates the determination to strengthen such ties.” He pointed out that Kuwait and China have been working together under the framework of international and regional organizations. His Highness the Amir called for “more consultation and coordination” with China due to the “sensitive and critical political, economic and security situations on the international and regional levels.” His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad said China’s role on the international stage would help tackle challenges facing the Arab and Gulf countries. “A friendly China will assume historical responsibilities, maintain international peace and security, and play a positive and outstanding role,”
His Highness noted. Last Friday, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah told KUNA that His Highness the Amir’s China visit would contribute in setting a “roadmap” for future strategic relations with Beijing, as well as giving more oomph to cooperation in many crucial domains. This is His Highness’s second official visit to the People’s Republic of China since assuming rule, and the fourth since taking office in the state when he was a foreign minister. Meanwhile, the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum kicked of here on Sunday, where His Highness the Amir will be a guest of honor to discuss ways of boosting Arab-Chinese relations in various fields, especially economic ones. A consultative meeting of the Arab League Council will be held during the Forum to discuss Arab positions in the 8th ministerial meeting of the Forum on Tuesday.
A consultative meeting will also be held Monday to discuss the implementation of the Forum’s work program, as well as a number of regional issues of mutual concern, and the progress reached at the senior-level preparatory meeting of the Forum. A delegation headed by Kuwaiti Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab World Affairs Aziz Al-Daihani, will take part in the meetings. The Forum’s ministerial meeting will also review activities of the 7th session of the Forum, which was held in 2016. Several documents will be adopted during this session, including the ‘Beijing declaration’ and a 2018-2020 action plan, covering more than 10 areas of cooperation. The Forum was established in 2004 at the initiative of former Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, where the joint Arab-Chinese declaration was issued. His Highness the Amir arrived in Beijing on Saturday on an official state visit from July 7-10, during which he will sign a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding in various fields.