Carrying Forward the Spirit of China-Arab Friendship and
Jointly Building a China-Arab Community with a Shared Future
in the New Era
Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
Riyadh, 9 December 2022
At the outset, I wish to thank Saudi Arabia for the warm hospitality and thoughtful arrangement. I am very pleased to join you for the first China-Arab States Summit. The Summit is a milestone in the history of China-Arab relations, and will take us to a more promising future of friendship and cooperation.
China and Arab states enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. We have come to know and befriend each other through the ancient Silk Road. We have shared weal and woe in our respective struggles for national liberation. We have conducted win-win cooperation in the tide of economic globalization. And we have upheld fairness and justice in the changing international environment. Together, China and Arab states have nurtured the spirit of friendship featuring “solidarity and mutual assistance, equality and mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and mutual learning”.
Solidarity and mutual assistance is a distinct feature of China-Arab friendship. We trust each other, and have forged a brotherly friendship. We firmly support each other on issues involving our respective core interests. We work hand in hand and make progress together to realize the dream of national rejuvenation. We brave wind and storms together in fighting the COVID pandemic. The China-Arab future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development is unbreakable.
Equality and mutual benefit is a constant driver for our friendship. China and Arab states have set an example for South-South cooperation in pursuing mutually beneficial collaboration. The two sides have established 17 cooperation mechanisms under the framework of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum. Over the past decade, our trade has grown by US$100 billion, with the total volume exceeding US$300 billion; China’s direct investment in Arab states was up by 2.6 times, with the stock of investment reaching US$23 billion; over 200 Belt and Road projects have been carried out, benefiting nearly two billion people of the two sides.
Inclusiveness and mutual learning is a key value inherent in our friendship. We appreciate each other’s civilizations, and have written a splendid history of mutual learning. We keep drawing wisdom from each other’s time-honored civilizations, and jointly promote “peace, harmony, integrity, and truth”, the very essence of civilization. We stay true to our principles despite the clamour for “clash of civilizations”, advocate together inter-civilizational dialogue, oppose discrimination against particular civilizations, and endeavor to safeguard the diversity of world civilizations.
The world today is in a new period of turbulence and transformation. The Middle East is undergoing new and profound changes. The aspiration of the Arab people for peace and development is much more compelling, and their call for equity and justice is stronger than ever. As strategic partners, China and Arab states should carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and foster a closer China-Arab community with a shared future, so as to deliver greater benefits to our peoples and advance the cause of human progress.
— We should stay independent and defend our common interests. China supports Arab states in independently exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and holding their future firmly in their own hands. China is ready to deepen strategic mutual trust with Arab states, and firmly support each other in safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity. Our two sides should jointly uphold the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, practice true multilateralism, and defend the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
— We should focus on economic development and promote win-win cooperation. We should strengthen synergy between our development strategies, and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We should consolidate cooperation in traditional areas including economy and trade, energy and infrastructure development. In the meantime, we should strengthen new sources of growth such as green and low-carbon development, health and medical services, and investment and finance, and expand new frontiers including aviation and aerospace, digital economy and peaceful use of nuclear energy. We should also tackle major challenges like food security and energy security. China will work with the Arab side to implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and drive sustainable development of South-South cooperation.
— We should uphold regional peace and strive for common security. China supports the Arab side in promoting political settlement of hotspot and challenging issues with Arab wisdom, and build a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security architecture in the Middle East. China urges the international community to respect the role of the Middle East people as masters of their own affairs, and add positive energy to the security and stability of the region. China welcomes the Arab side to participate in the Global Security Initiative (GSI), and will continue to contribute Chinese wisdom to promoting peace and tranquility in the Middle East.
— We should increase exchanges among civilizations to enhance mutual understanding and trust. We need to increase personnel exchange, deepen people-to-people cooperation, and promote the exchange of governance experience. We need to jointly oppose Islamophobia, carry out cooperation on deradicalization, and reject association of terrorism with any particular ethnic group or religion. We need to advocate humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and set an example of inter-civilizational exchanges and mutual learning in the new era.
We are pleased to see the decision by the Summit to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era and to formulate the Outline of the Comprehensive Cooperation Plan Between China and Arab States, laying out the blueprint for future China-Arab relations. As the first follow-up step of that decision, China will, in the next three to five years, work with the Arab side to advance eight major cooperation initiatives in areas including development support, food security, public health, green innovation, energy security, inter-civilizational dialogue, youth development, and security and stability. China has briefed the Arab side on the details of the eight initiatives, and will work with the Arab side to promote their early implementation and strive for early harvest.
The Palestinian issue bears on peace and stability in the Middle East. The historical injustices done to the Palestinian people should not be left unattended indefinitely. The legitimate rights and interests of a nation are not up for trade, and the demand to establish an independent state shall not be denied. The international community should stay firm in its commitment to the two-state solution and the principle of “land for peace”, make resolute efforts to promote peace talks, provide more humanitarian and development assistance to Palestine, and strive for a just settlement of the Palestinian issue at an early date. Recently, through the efforts of Arab states, important progress has been made in Intra-Palestinian reconciliation. China welcomes these developments. I would like to reiterate that China firmly supports the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestine in becoming a full member of the United Nations, and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Palestine, support livelihood projects in the country, and increase donations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Recently, the Communist Party of China successfully convened its 20th National Congress. The Congress laid out the tasks and path of advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization, and provided a blueprint for China’s future development. China will stay committed to upholding world peace, promoting common development, and building a community with a shared future for mankind. China remains firm in pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and upholding international fairness and justice. China is committed to promoting friendship and cooperation with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and will work to deepen and expand global partnerships. Acting on a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, China will continue to promote high-standard opening up and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. By doing so, we wish to create new opportunities for Arab states and all other countries with China’s new development.
A great cause begins with a dream and turns into reality through hard work. Let us carry forward the spirit of China-Arab friendship, jointly build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era, and usher in an even brighter future for our relations.