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

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 AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 42 min 8 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”