Building on Past Achievements and Jointly Creating a Brighter
Future of China-GCC Relations
Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
Riyadh, 9 December 2022
At the outset, I wish to express heartfelt appreciation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting the China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit. It gives me great pleasure to join you in planning for the future of China-GCC relations.
The friendly exchange between China and GCC countries goes back nearly two millennia in history. Throughout those years, the two peoples interacted with each other continuously along the ancient Silk Road inspired by the “Eastern wisdom” of peace, harmony and truth. In 1981, China established contact with the GCC upon its inception. Forty plus years on, the two sides have written together a splendid chapter of solidarity, mutual assistance and win-win cooperation.
The leapfrog growth of China-GCC relations is attributed to the profound mutual trust. China and GCC countries have all along supported each other’s sovereignty and independence, respected each other’s development paths, upheld equality between countries regardless of their size, and stood firm in defending multilateralism.
The leapfrog growth is attributed to the high degree of complementarity. China has a vast consumer market and a complete industrial system, while the GCC, with rich energy and resources, is embracing diversified economic development. This makes the two sides natural partners of cooperation.
The leapfrog growth is attributed to the empathy of the two peoples. Both belonging to the family of Eastern civilizations, China and GCC countries have similar culture and values. And the peoples enjoy close bonds of friendship.
The leapfrog growth is also attributed to the solidarity between the two sides in times of adversity. Against regional and international uncertainties as well as challenges such as the financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and major natural disasters, the two sides have come to each other’s aid and navigated through the difficulties together.
In response to the profound changes unseen in a century, GCC countries have strengthened themselves through unity, achieved economic growth despite COVID-19, and worked vigorously for political settlement of regional hotspots and thorny issues. They have made the GCC the most dynamic regional organization in the Middle East and the Gulf. China highly commends you for all this. Standing at a historical crossroads, we should carry forward the tradition of China-GCC friendship, and take the establishment of the China-GCC strategic partnership as an opportunity to enrich the strategic substance of this relationship.
— We should be partners for greater solidarity. We need to further consolidate political mutual trust and firmly support each other’s core interests. We need to jointly uphold the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, practice true multilateralism, and defend the common interests of all developing countries.
— We should be partners for common development. We need to better synergize development strategies and leverage our respective strengths to cultivate driving forces for development. China looks forward to working with all parties to advance and implement the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and follow through on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a view to promoting regional development and prosperity.
— We should be partners for common security. China will continue to firmly support GCC countries in safeguarding their security, and support the efforts by regional countries to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation and to build a Gulf collective security architecture. China welcomes the participation of GCC countries in the Global Security Initiative (GSI) in a joint effort to uphold regional peace and stability.
— We should be partners for cultural prosperity. We need to enhance interactions between our peoples, increase cultural exchanges, draw on each other’s fine cultural achievements, and promote the rich values of Eastern civilizations, so as to contribute our share to the development and progress of human civilizations.
In the next three to five years, China is ready to work with GCC countries in the following priority areas:
First, setting up a new paradigm of all-dimensional energy cooperation. China will continue to import large quantities of crude oil on a long-term basis from GCC countries, and purchase more LNG. We will strengthen our cooperation in the upstream sector, engineering services, as well as storage, transportation and refinery of oil and gas. The Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange platform will be fully utilized for RMB settlement in oil and gas trade. The two sides will work more closely on clean and low-carbon technologies involving hydrogen, energy storage, wind and photovoltaic power and smart power grids, as well as localized production of new energy equipment. We will jointly establish a China-GCC forum on peaceful use of nuclear technology and a China-GCC nuclear security demonstration center. China will provide 300 training opportunities to GCC countries on peaceful use of nuclear energy and technology.
Second, making new progress in finance and investment cooperation. China and GCC countries could collaborate on financial regulation and facilitate the entry into China’s capital market for GCC companies. China will work with the GCC to set up a joint investment commission and support cooperation between sovereign wealth funds from both sides in various forms. The two sides could explore setting up a China-GCC forum on industrial and investment cooperation, strengthen investment cooperation on digital economy and green development, and build a working mechanism on investment and economic cooperation. The two sides could start currency swap cooperation, deepen digital currency cooperation and advance the m-CBDC Bridge project.
Third, expanding new areas of cooperation on innovation, science and technology. China is ready to build big data and cloud computing centers with GCC countries, strengthen 5G and 6G technology cooperation, build together innovation and entrepreneurship incubators, and implement ten digital economy projects in such areas as cross-border e-commerce and communications network. A China-GCC cooperation mechanism in meteorological science and technology will be set up, and the two sides could convene a seminar on climate response.
Fourth, seeking new breakthroughs in aerospace cooperation. China will carry out a string of cooperation projects with GCC countries in remote sensing and communications satellite, space utilization, and aerospace infrastructure. The two sides could select and train astronauts together, and China welcomes GCC astronauts to its space station for joint missions and space science experiments with their Chinese colleagues. China welcomes GCC countries’ participation in payloads cooperation in its aerospace missions including Chang’e and Tianwen, and will consider establishing a China-GCC joint center for lunar and deep space exploration.
Fifth, nurturing new highlights in language and cultural cooperation. China will cooperate with 300 universities, middle and primary schools in GCC countries on Chinese language education, work with GCC countries to set up 300 Chinese language smart classrooms, provide 3,000 “Chinese Bridge” summer/winter camp opportunities, and set up Chinese language learning and testing centers and online Chinese classes. The two sides could hold a China-GCC language and culture forum, and compile a bilingual library for people-to-people and cultural exchanges and mutual learning.
China and GCC countries share the glorious mission of developing and revitalizing our nations. Our relations are both time-honored and young. Let us build on our achievements and work together to deliver an even brighter future of China-GCC relations.