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Wen Jiabao Attends the Opening Ceremony of the Fourth Entrepreneurs' Conference & Investment Seminar of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum

On January 18, 2012, Premier Wen Jiabao attended the fourth entrepreneurs' conference & investment seminar of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and delivered a keynote speech.

He said that China and the Arab states have a long history of relationship. Over the years, we have shared weal and woe and established profound friendship. The history of exchanges between China and the Arab states is also a history of friendly contacts, mutual help and cooperation. Economic and trade cooperation is the most active part with the longest history in China-Arab relations. It forms the important link between the Chinese and the Arab people, brings tangible benefits to and enhances the welfare of the two peoples. The more developed China-Arab economic and trade cooperation is, the closer the bilateral relations and the more solid the traditional friendship between the two peoples will be.

He noted that the world today is experiencing profound and complex historic changes. The situation in West Asia and North Africa has fluctuated significantly, raising serious challenges and impact on countries in the region. As a good friend, good partner and good brother of the Arab states, China pays high attention to the developments and changes in the region and is willing to provide help within its capacity for peace and development there.

He pointed out that China-Arab relations constitute a major part of China's relations with foreign countries. China always takes the development of relations with the Arab states as the priority and focus of its diplomatic policy. Against the complicated international situation at present, China and the Arab states, as old friends, should more than ever help each other and cooperate sincerely. To that end, he raised the following suggestions.

First, consolidate political mutual trust and deepen strategic cooperation. China supports the efforts of the Gulf countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) of maintaining stability and people's livelihood. We uphold that regional affairs be decided by countries and people on their own in the region, respect their aspiration and desire and support them to choose the development paths in line with their national conditions. We propose to build a stable and balanced regional power structure and encourage countries there to handle relations in the principle of mutual respect and good-neighborly friendship and solve differences rationally through dialogue and consultation. China is willing to make joint efforts with the Arab states to play a constructive role in the regional and international affairs and push for the establishment of a more fair and reasonable international political and economic order.

Second, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve common development. China and the Arab states should open market wider to each other, give full play to their respective advantages, further expand the bilateral trade and make the bilateral trade more reasonable and balanced. It is necessary to further deepen energy resources cooperation, develop the stable and mutually beneficial cooperative relations in the long run and jointly facilitate investment. China will continue to encourage enterprises to invest and set up business in the Arab states. It has always been paying close attention to the development and revitalization of the Arab states and will continue to offer economic and technical assistance to those states in need and help them implement more projects beneficial to the ordinary people.

Third, expand cultural exchanges and carry forward traditional friendship. China and the Arab states should adapt to the new trends of globalization, informationization and technological progress, vigorously promote and enrich the cultural exchanges and promote the mutual respect and harmonious coexistence among races, religions and cultures. China is willing to further step up cooperation with the Arab states on education, human resources and tourism.

He said that a major step of deepening China-Arab economic and trade cooperation should be to develop the China-GCC Free Trade Area (FTA). It is of landmark significance to the development of China-Arab relations. The two sides should show greater political will to end the negotiations and sign the FTA agreement at an early date.

He noted lastly that both the Chinese and the Arab states had made outstanding contributions to human civilization and progress. Today, countries are more interlinked and interdependent and mankind as a whole faces the same challenges and opportunities. We should seek common ground while putting aside differences, eliminate bias and solve disputes rationally with a more inclusive attitude and broader mind, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, safeguard peace together and try to build a happy, tranquil, harmonious and stable world. Let's join hands, respond to the call of the time and march towards the future of lasting peace and prosperity.

The fourth entrepreneurs' conference & investment seminar of the CASCF is co-hosted by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Sultan, Deputy Secretary General of the League of Arab States Twaijiri and government officials and entrepreneurs from China and the Arab states attended the opening ceremony.

On the same day, Wen met with the staffs of the Chinese embassy in the UAE and took group photos with them.

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