By Li Wei, DRC
President Xi Jinping proposed, in connection with the Belt and Road Initiative, the principle of joint consultation and co-construction with shared benefits and the goal of policy communication, road inter-connectivity, trade flow, currency circulation and common aspirations of the people. These have become important regional development concepts in Asia, Europe and Africa.
First, China regards the Gulf region as an important cooperative partner. As early as 2100 years ago, many messengers, business travelers and scholars had travelled on the Silk Road and made cultural and business exchanges with each other along the routes. In modern times, China and the Gulf countries have, on the basis of national independence, carried on the traditional mutual trust and cooperation.
Second, China and the Gulf countries have complementary advantages. The Gulf region is rich in resources with advantageous geographical location. China is an emerging economic power, and its contribution to world’s economic growth accounted for more than 1/3. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is China’s seventh largest trading partner, and China is the second largest trading partner of the GCC.
Third, the economic transformation has created a huge room for mutual cooperation. In recent years, the Gulf countries are facing the pressure of economic structure transformation and upgrading, and are actively promoting the diversification of economic structure. China’s external environment and its comparative advantage have also undergone great changes.
Fourth, the target is clear, and the blueprint has been unfolded. President Xi Jinping set forth a new pattern of cooperation to promote the overall relationship with the GCC countries. He proposed to enhance mutual cooperation in energy projects, to improve infrastructure, trade and investment facilitation and to initiate more programs for further benefits in the fields of nuclear energy, space satellites, and new energy.
Fifth, the realization of the above-mentioned goals require joint efforts made by both sides. 1. The development of strategic synergy between the two sides should be jointly promoted. 2. The China - GCC Free Trade Agreement negotiations should be advanced. 3. The construction of normalized cooperation mechanism in key areas needs in-depth discussion. Fourthly, it is necessary to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between think tanks from both sides.