The first China-Arab States Summit held in Saudi Arabia on Friday will strengthen China's relations with Saudi Arabia and the entire Arab world. It will be a milestone in the development of bilateral relations and will inject new impetus into China-Arab ties in various aspects such as political, economic, cultural and tourism.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China officially established diplomatic relations in July 1990. Since then, the two sides have built a profound strategic cooperative relationship based on the solid foundation of mutual respect and mutual benefit. Leaders and officials of both sides have exchanged many visits to consolidate and strengthen the bilateral strategic relationship over the past 30 years.
Especially in 2016, the two countries expedited the deepening of ties. With the launch of Saudi-Chinese High-Level Joint Committee, the two countries have built a comprehensive strategic partnership. The profound friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership between the two, as well as the effective implementation of the important consensus reached by the state leaders of the two countries, have greatly promoted bilateral cooperation in all aspects.
By promoting the docking of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and China's Belt and Road Initiative, a high-level cooperation pattern in the fields of energy, the economy, trade, and high technology has been formed between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia is one of China's most important trading partners, and the trade volume between the two accounts for one-third of the total trade volume between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. In the first half of this year, the trade volume between Saudi Arabia and China reached $55.6 billion, an increase of 38 percent compared with the same period last year, which far exceeded the 11 percent increase in trade volume between China and the rest of the world during the same period.
According to Chinese statistics, in the first half of 2022, Saudi Arabia was one of the largest destination country for Chinese foreign investment in the world. Of the $28 billion Chinese overseas investment, investment in Saudi Arabia reached $5.5 billion, accounting for 20 percent of the total.
While Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 is based on its unique strengths and capabilities. In October 2021, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the National Investment Strategy, which is one of the key drivers for achieving the goals of Vision 2030. The strategy includes increasing the private sector's contribution to GDP to 65 percent, lifting foreign direct investment's proportion to 5.7 percent of GDP, and raising the share of non-oil exports from 16 percent to 50 percent. Saudi Arabia is projected to be among the top 10 in the Global Competitiveness Index by 2030. It is also notable that foreign direct investment inflow into Saudi Arabia reached $19.3 billion in 2021 with a growth rate of 257 percent compared to the previous year.
There are abundant opportunities for Saudi Arabia and China to cooperate, and economic cooperation between the two countries is conducive to bringing together regional countries with uneven development levels and internal contradictions. This will significantly promote the development and unity of Arab countries. The China-Arab Summit will also create a new model to promote stable development in the region.
The author is the cultural attache at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in China. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.
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