Saudi-Chinese strategic ties reach new heights

Saudi-Chinese strategic ties reach new heights
Updated 30 September 2014

Saudi-Chinese strategic ties reach new heights

Saudi-Chinese strategic ties reach new heights

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, I would like to extend warm congratulations and sincere wishes to the Chinese community living and working in Saudi Arabia.
I would also like to pay my tribute to the leadership of the Kingdom and its friendly people for their care and contribution to Sino-Saudi relations.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese government and its people have been working strenuously to build their homeland.
Now, China’s GDP exceeds $9 trillion which ranks the second in the world.
China is the largest goods-trader with the highest foreign exchange reserves in the world.
We are also witnessing significant developments in the fields of industry, agriculture, education, science, health, tourism and etc.
With political stability, prosperous economy and progressing society, China becomes one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
During the first half of 2014, China’s economic growth rate remains high at 7.4 percent.
At the same time, China is still a developing country with its per capita GDP just exceeding $6,700.
The Chinese government is striving to maintain the steady growth of its economy.
At the meantime, it is also committed to transforming and upgrading its economic structure to achieve a sustainable development in the economic and social fields.
Under the new leadership, the Chinese government has set the “two goals of 100-year” for its future development.
The first goal is to double its GDP and per capita income of its urban and rural residents of 2010 by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. By then, a society of moderate prosperity benefiting over one billion people will have been established.
The second goal is to turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century, when the People’s Republic of China celebrates its 100th anniversary.
China is moving toward a higher stage of development, and its development has been and will continue to bring benefit to the peoples all over the world.
Just a few days ago, the Saudi people celebrated their National Day.
As a Chinese diplomat who has been working and living in the Kingdom for nearly three years, I was honored to share the great joy with the Saudi people.
I’m especially happy to witness the prosperity and progress the Kingdom has achieved, and I wish the Saudi people further progress in various fields under the leadership of King Abdullah.
As the Chinese Ambassador to the Kingdom, I’m proud of the friendly relationship between China and the Kingdom ever since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, made a successful visit to China in March this year.
During the visit, he met Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang respectively, exchanging in-depth views on ways to develop Chinese-Saudi strategic relations of friendship and on regional and international issues of common concern, reaching important consensus, and bringing the bilateral relations to a new height.
Saudi Arabia has been the largest trading partner of China in West Asian and African region for over 10 consecutive years.
In 2013, China imported more than 53 million tons of crude oil from the Kingdom, and the volume of trade exchange between the two countries has reached $72.2 billion.
China is also the second largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia.
There are 158 Chinese companies operating across the Kingdom in the fields of construction, telecommunications, infrastructure, petrochemicals and others.
There are more than 1,300 Saudi students in China and more than 600 Chinese students in the Kingdom now.
The two countries have also been maintaining good coordination and cooperation in the fields of national security and counter-terrorism.
Although the distance between the two countries is far, China and Saudi Arabia are enjoying strong economic complementarities, the political mutual-respect and cultural inclusiveness.
Both peoples share the same wish to pursue a more wonderful life, and both countries are at the key point to a higher stage of development.
At the 6th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum held in Beijing in June, Chinese president Xi Jinping proposed that both sides join hands to build the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the ‘Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century’, and work together to establish a “1+2+3” cooperation pattern.
‘1’ means one core, namely energy cooperation.
In this regard, both sides need to deepen the full chain of oil and gas industry cooperation, to safeguard energy transportation corridor, so as to construct a mutual beneficial, safe, reliable and long-term friendly strategic relationship between China and Arab countries in the aspect of energy cooperation.
‘2’ means two wings, namely infrastructure construction, and trade and investment facilitation.
Both sides need to strengthen the cooperation on major development projects as well as the iconic livelihood projects, and to establish the relevant institutional arrangements which could promote the bilateral trade and investment.
‘3’ means three high and new tech fields of nuclear energy, space satellite and new energy as new breakthroughs.
Both sides need to make efforts to upscale the practical cooperation between China and Arab countries.
This proposal creates new opportunities and broad prospects to the development of the relations between China and Arab countries, especially between China and GCC countries.
China is willing to work together with Saudi Arabia to further deepen bilateral strategic friendly relations, to promote common economic and social development of both sides, and to jointly build a bright future of China-Saudi relationship.
Eid Al-Adha will come this week. More than 20 million Chinese Muslims will celebrate the traditional festival with their Muslim brothers and sisters all over the world together.
It is my pleasure to take this chance to extend my warm congratulations and sincere greetings of Eid-Al-Adha to the leaders, government and people of the Kingdom, as well as all Muslims in the Kingdom.

Li Chengwen
Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia


Saudi interior minister greets security personnel for Umrah success

Saudi interior minister greets security personnel for Umrah success
Updated 38 min 1 sec ago

Saudi interior minister greets security personnel for Umrah success

Saudi interior minister greets security personnel for Umrah success

RIYADH: Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif on Thursday conveyed the congratulations of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the personnel of the Ministry of Interior and security sectors on the success of security plans for the Umrah season and the advent of Eid Al-Fitr.

Prince Abdul Aziz, who is also the chairman of the Umrah Supreme Committee, expressed thanks to the leadership for the support that enabled the security sectors to perform their duties in this year’s exceptional Umrah season, expressing his pride in the efforts made by security men in the service of Umrah performers and visitors.

Muslims performed Eid Al-Fitr prayer throughout Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

In Makkah, the prayer was performed at the Grand Mosque and led by the Imam of the Grand Mosque Sheikh Saleh bin Abdullah bin Humaid. The prayer was attended by Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and a number of princes.

In Madinah, the prayer was performed at the Prophet’s Mosque. The prayer was attended by Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman.

The prayer was also performed in various regions and attended by regional governors and senior officials.

The imams who led the prayer congratulated Muslims on Eid Al-Fitr, praying to Allah to accept their fasting, prayers, charity and good deeds.


Iraqi PM thanks King Salman for hospital donation

Iraqi PM thanks King Salman for hospital donation
Updated 14 min 7 sec ago

Iraqi PM thanks King Salman for hospital donation

Iraqi PM thanks King Salman for hospital donation
  • The king ordered Wednesday that the hospital, designated for COVID-19 cases, which was gutted by fire in April be rebuilt
  • Saudi Arabia will take on critical cases to provide them with medical care at the king’s expense

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on Thursday expressed his country’s gratitude to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who ordered that a Baghdad hospital that was destroyed by fire, be reconstructed.
On Wednesday, King Salman ordered that the Ibn Al-Khatib hospital, which was gutted by fire on April 24 in the Iraqi capital, be rebuilt.
Al-Kadhimi conveyed his appreciation and thanked King Salman for his initiative and for the hospital donation.
Nearly 110 victims were injured and at least 82 people killed after a fire broke out at the hospital that was designated for COVID-19 patients.
The king’s directives were announced by Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iraq that said “based on the ties of brotherhood, good neighborliness, and the historical relations between the two countries and peoples,” according to SPA.
The embassy said the gesture was King Salman’s gift to the Iraqi people and to support them following the fire incident.
Saudi Arabia also said it will take on critical cases to provide them with medical care in the Kingdom’s hospitals at the king’s expense.


Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates

Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates
Updated 48 min 33 sec ago

Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates

Who’s Who: Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan, CEO of Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates

Dr. Mohammed Al-Nuwairan has been the chief executive officer of the Saudi National Center for Palms and Dates (NCPD) since April 2016.

He heads a number of initiatives aimed at improving the management and efficiency of the sector’s supply chains, from farms to local and international consumers, and is involved in highlighting palm and date-related investment opportunities in areas such as services, technology, and bi-products.

Al-Nuwairan and his NCPD team have been working to transform the sector’s digital offering with the launch of electronic platforms covering aspects of the business including e-marketing, quality marks, government support, and subsidies.

Under his stewardship, the center has established strategic partnerships with companies such as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), Takamol Holding, and Taibah Valley along with other major international firms.

He sits on several government committees with sector interests and has participated in numerous international industry conferences and workshops.

Al-Nuwairan helped set up the Kingdom’s annual international dates conference, along with the International Council for Dates, the Saudi Dates Mark certification scheme, and a dates exhibition in Riyadh.

From July 2003 until joining the NCPD, he was an assistant professor at King Faisal University’s business school.

He gained a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester’s business school, specializing in supply chain management, a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Canada’s University of Windsor, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from King Faisal University, in Al-Ahsa.


OIC to hold emergency meeting to discuss Jerusalem and Gaza, at request of Saudi Arabia

Palestinians react in front of the remains of destroyed building after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP)
Palestinians react in front of the remains of destroyed building after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP)
Updated 13 May 2021

OIC to hold emergency meeting to discuss Jerusalem and Gaza, at request of Saudi Arabia

Palestinians react in front of the remains of destroyed building after being hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP)
  • The meeting between foreign ministers of member nations will address continuing Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories

RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem and Gaza, at the request of Saudi Arabia, it was reported on Thursday.

The meeting between foreign ministers of OIC member nations will address continuing Israeli attacks in the Palestinian territories, which have escalated since Monday.

Israeli troops were massing at the Gaza border on Thursday, while Hamas hit Israel with rockets in intense hostilities that have caused international concern and touched off clashes between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

As fears grow that violence could spiral out of control into a full-blown war, the US announced Wednesday it was sending an envoy, Hady Amr, to the region.

President Joe Biden said that the US was in contact with Saudi Arabia and Egypt about de-escalating the situation in Gaza.

Egypt, Tunisia and other countries in the region could play a short-term role in de-escalating the current conflict, White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said on Thursday. 


Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia

Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia
Updated 13 May 2021

Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia

Ancient site in Nefud Desert offers glimpse of early human activity in Saudi Arabia
  • An Nasim is the first Acheulean site to be dated in the Nefud Desert, say researchers
  • Evidence of diverse species of small-to-large mammals can be found at the sites of these palaeolakes in the Nefud

RIYADH: An important archaeological site showing signs of ancient human activity dating back 350,000 years has been discovered in the Hail region of northern Saudi Arabia.

According to a scientific report published in the journal Nature, An Nasim is the first Acheulean site to be dated in the Nefud Desert. Acheulean technology refers to the distinctive style of oval and pear-shaped stone tools believed to have been developed about 1.7 million years ago by the archaic humans that preceded modern homo sapiens. It is thought these “hand axes” remained in use until as recently as 130,000 years ago.

The report — titled “The Expansion of Acheulean Hominins into the Nefud Desert of Arabia” — notes that until now, detailed knowledge of the Acheulean in the region was limited to a single, well-documented site: Saffaqah, in central Saudi Arabia.

However, tools were also found in the Nefud Desert. Researchers at An Nasim discovered evidence of what was once a deep lake, probably freshwater, as well as features associated with the Middle Pleistocene era, which covers the period from about 780,000 to 130,000 years ago.

Jasir Al-Harbash, CEO of the Kingdom’s Heritage Commission, told Arab News: “Many sites have been discovered and are under study.”

HIGHLIGHT

According to a scientific report published in the journal Nature, An Nasim is the first Acheulean site to be dated in the Nefud Desert. Acheulean technology refers to the distinctive style of oval and pear-shaped stone tools believed to have been developed about 1.7 million years ago by the archaic humans that preceded modern homo sapiens. It is thought these ‘hand axes’ remained in use until as recently as 130,000 years ago.

However the discovery in the Nefud Desert is particularly important, he added, because it is “the oldest dated site of the Acheulean period in Saudi Arabia.”

Surveys by the Green Arabian Project (GAP) in the past 10 years have confirmed that the Arabian Peninsula experienced climate changes during the Pleistocene era that produced wetter conditions, which affected the movement and distribution of humans within and between continents. This is particularly true of Acheulean communities, who appear to have been more tethered to water sources than others.

An Nasim offers insights into the diverse stone tool assemblages used by Middle Pleistocene humans in the region, probably indicating their repeated return to the peninsula during the wetter “Green Arabia” climate phases.

The site includes a deep, narrow basin with outcrops in the central part, where several artifacts from the early Palaeolithic era were discovered. About 354 items were collected, primarily hand axes and stone “flakes” cut from a rock core. The survey found that the archaeological materials are closely associated with the lake. The report notes that the tools are similar to those found elsewhere in the Nefud Desert. The presence of some of the flaked pieces suggest that the raw materials were brought to the site and some discarded after testing. Other pieces had been partly shaped before being abandoned.

Broader surveys of the Nefud Desert have found that local quartzite rock was frequently used in undated Acheulean assemblages, including diverse sizes and shapes of hand axes.

The Acheulean tools at An Nasim have been dated to the late Middle Pleistocene era, about 350,000 to 250,000 years ago, when the formation of lakes was seemingly widespread in the Nefud Desert. In comparison tools found at the site at Saffaqah are more recent, dating back about 240,000 to 190,000 years.

The similarities between the Acheulean materials found at An Nasim and other undated Acheulean sites in the Nefud Desert indicates that the lakes that once existed in this region provided an important resource for the expansion of humans in the region, and a viable habitation environment for them and other mammals.

Evidence of diverse species of small-to-large mammals can be found at the sites of these palaeolakes in the Nefud, indicating the migration of animals to the region during wet phases and suggesting the availability of fauna as food sources at watering holes.

With the participation of Saudi experts, the Kingdom’s Heritage Commission has been working on the GAP scientific program in collaboration with counterparts from the Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for Human Development. It focuses on studying climate changes in the Arabian Peninsula over time, and the immigration of ancient humans into Arabia and their settlement there.

Previous GAP studies have found evidence of hundreds of paleolakes, rivers and forests, and the animals they helped to sustain, around which successive civilizations emerged thanks to the mild climate at that time.

Late last year, the Heritage Commission announced that the footprints of humans, elephants, camels and predatory animals had been found at the site of what was once lake, dating back more than 120,000 years, in Tabuk. They are believed to be the oldest footprints of man and animals found in the Arabian Peninsula.

Through the GAP, the Heritage Commission carries out intensive surveys and systematic excavations to identify and gain insight into ancient climatic conditions and the nature of the prevailing environment in Arabia’s past, as well as the movement of humans. This is part of the Commission’s efforts to excavate, preserve and promote archaeological sites in the Kingdom as part of Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Harbash highlighted the importance of cooperation between local and international teams in excavating and researching antiquities in the Arabian Peninsula. He added that joint projects are in progress with more than 20 of the most prestigious international institutes and universities involved in archaeological research and excavation.