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Kuwait, China in parallel plans
KUWAIT CITY, Sept 21: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah arrived at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang province, east China, to attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Olympic Games at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. His Highness the Crown Prince was welcomed by Chinese Minister of Transportation Li Xiaopeng, Chairwoman of Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Huang Lixin, head of the accompanying honorary mission and Ambassador to Kuwait Zhang Jianwei, and, from the Kuwaiti side, Assistant Foreign Minister for Asia Affairs Sameeh Jowhar Hayat, Ambassador to China Jassem Ibrahim Al- Najem, Consul General in Shanghai Mishal Mutafa Al- Shimali, Consul General in Guangzhou Abdullah Al-Turki, and Consul General in Hong Kong Nasser Saqr, as well as heads of the offices of the Embassy in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Vision 2035 economic diversification plan and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure project are intertwined in the sense that the strategies reflect deepening bilateral relations, besides common ambitions for national prosperity. Given its strategic location in the Gulf Arab region, Kuwait has long shared a historic relationship with the world’s second most populous nation, having been the first Gulf Arab country to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, which commenced in earnest back in March of 1971.
Kuwait has always given the lion’s share of precedence to China in terms of its diplomatic relations with Eastern Asia, as evidenced by the increasing exchange of high-profile visits between both sides that has given impetus to an improvement in relations, mainly in economic cooperation. Trade ties between Kuwait and China have been on an upward trajectory since 1982, while no Arab nation has given more soft loans to Beijing more than Kuwait, in addition to a pivotal memorandum of understanding in 2014 that aimed to pave the way for Kuwaiti ambitions to morph into a global financial and trade hub.
China’s BRI infrastructure plan and Kuwait’s 2035 economic diversification plan draw parallels in their common aim to form a vibrant global trade zone that will bode well for the global economy, while Kuwaiti-Sino cooperation to tame the COVID pandemic is one of many instances of solidarity between the two countries. In July of 2018, Kuwait’s late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited Beijing in an event that was a catalyst for greater bilateral relations, one which yielded a number of significant bilateral deals, the bulk of which revolved around economic cooperation.
The deals run the gamut from cooperation on e-commerce and energy to infrastructure and the establishment of smart cites, while the two countries’ respective leaders have always given their backing to any initiative aiming to propel ties to greater levels. More than 40 Chinese-based firms are currently operating in Kuwait as part of Beijing’s contributions towards national development projects in a testament to the meteoric rise in bilateral relations. In related news, Kuwaiti sport officials hoisted Thursday Kuwait’s flag in the sport city in the Chinese city of Hangzouh, which would be hosting the 19th Asian Games between September 23 and October 8. Hoisting the flag marks the participation of the Gulf country in the Asian games, Sheikh Jaber Thamer Al-Sabah, member of Kuwait National Olympic Committee Board, said in a statement. He said the Kuwaiti players would do their utmost to represent their country in the best way possible. The flag hoisting ceremony was also attended by NOC member Fatma Hayat and Assistant Secreetary General Ali Al-Marri
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