China, Arab states agree to enhance cooperation under new strategic partnership

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrive for a news conference at the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Beijing on Tuesday. Reuters
Updated 11 July 2018
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China, Arab states agree to enhance cooperation under new strategic partnership

  • The ministerial session reflects the two sides’ keenness to deepen Arab-Chinese ties
  • Saudi Arabia has opened a branch of the King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Beijing to encourage exchanges between scholars

JEDDAH: The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum began its eighth ministerial meeting in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss ways to strengthen Arab-Chinese relations.
The Saudi delegation was led by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who is chairman of the current session.
In a speech at the opening ceremony, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced his intention to hold an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and expressed his support for the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.
China and Arab countries have agreed to establish a “future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development,” Xi said.
Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said: “We believe that boosting mechanisms of cooperation between us will contribute to achieving the supreme interests of our Arab nation and our friends, and to enhancing historical relations between the two sides, which we are keen to develop and promote in all fields.”
Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the ministerial session reflects the two sides’ keenness to deepen Arab-Chinese ties.
He urged China to continue its support for Arab issues, foremost among them the Palestinian cause.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, Al-Jubeir delivered a lecture to the Middle East Studies Association.
He said: “Saudi-Chinese relations have been deepened by both countries’ belief in key principles, notably respecting the sovereignty of states and non-interference in their affairs.”
“Saudi Arabia launched its Vision 2030 reform plan to bolster the economy by reducing dependence on oil, attracting investors, and improving the transparency and performance of government institutions,” he said.
Vision 2030 also aims to create a climate of tolerance and moderation, confront extremism, and enable Saudi women to be partners in moving the Kingdom forward, he added.
Saudi Arabia considers itself an essential partner in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which will have a great economic and social impact on the world, and will contribute to regional security and stability, Al-Jubeir said.
Riyadh is consulting with Beijing on cooperation regarding the BRI, and on encouraging the Middle East to play a key role in the project, he added.
Al-Jubeir pointed to both sides’ keenness to intensify scientific exchanges, as the Kingdom has sent students to China for education and to become bridges between the two countries.
There are hundreds of Saudi students in Chinese universities, and the Kingdom has opened a branch of the King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Beijing to encourage exchanges between scholars, researchers and students in both countries, he said.
 


Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

Updated 18 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program ‘fundamental to Kingdom’s energy sector’

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s atomic energy program is fundamental for developing a sustainable energy sector, a senior minister told the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday.
The Kingdom plans to start building its first two nuclear power reactors this year and as many as 16 over the next 25 years at a cost of more than $80 billion. The plan is to provide 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s power from nuclear by 2032.
Speaking at the IAEA’s annual conference in Vienna, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the atomic reactor projects were were part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to diversify its energy sources to nuclear and renewables.
The program “abides by all international treaties and conventions and best practices, adhering to the highest standards of safety, security and transparency,” Al Falih said.
The minister said Saudi Arabia was committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for nuclear disarmament and stresses the commitment of nuclear power states to share their peaceful technologies with abiding member states.
He also said the Kingdom had called for cooperation with the international community to make the Middle East a nuclear weapons free area.
The US has started to reintroduce heavy sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, after Donald Trump pulled out of a deal with the country earlier this year to curb its atomic ambitions.
Al-Falih called on the international community to take a more stringent stance against all threats to regional and international security, particularly Iran, given its “alarming efforts to build its nuclear capabilities, in tandem with its increasing acts of sabotage and aggression against other states in the region.”