GCC and China agree on joint plan of action for future co-operation

Gulf leaders in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping after their annual summit in Riyadh

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The GCC states and China have agreed on a four-year joint plan of action to enhance their strategic partnership, according to a statement released on Friday.

The statement was the result of the inaugural China-GCC summit, which took place in Riyadh in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, hours after the Gulf Co-operation Council held its 43rd meeting.

The participants agreed to strengthen co-operation on economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic and "ensure flexibility on supply chains, food security and green energy" as well as space and health.

They expressed their support for the one-China policy.

“Sino-Gulf relations are based on mutual trust,” Mr Xi said, adding that a China-GCC investment council will be established.

“We must strengthen co-operation and trust, support multi-polarity, and not interfere in others' affairs. Our relations reflect support for multi-polarity and joint co-operation,” he said.

Participants also called for Iran's "full co-operation" with the UN nuclear watchdog "to ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme".

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman stressed the need for enhanced co-operation among Gulf states.

“The vision of King Salman helped to accelerate the development and co-operation between members of the Gulf Co-operation Council,” Prince Mohammed said in his opening speech at the GCC summit.

“We intend on presenting a new vision to promote close ties with Gulf states that will result in the achievement of the desired goals,” he said.

Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, Ruler of Fujairah, is leading the UAE delegation to the annual summit of Arab Gulf nations.

Mr Xi said his country welcomed the participation of the GCC in the Global Security Initiative he proposed earlier this year.

On energy, the Chinese leader vowed to promote co-operation with the GCC in the “clean energy and smart energy grids”.

Among the GCC leaders attending the meeting were Bahrain's King Hamad, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim, Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Sabah and Deputy Prime Minister of Oman Sayyid Fahd Al Said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and his delegation arrived on Thursday for Friday's China-Arab summit. They were welcomed at King Khalid International Airport by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, Deputy Governor of Riyadh.

Also arriving in Riyadh were Sudan’s Sovereign Council head Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani.

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied and Libya’s Presidency Council head Mohamed Al Menfi also landed in the Saudi capital.

Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and Lebanese caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati are also expected to attend the summit.

Mr Xi, who is expected to stay in Saudi Arabia until Saturday, earlier said he was pleased to visit the kingdom for the first time since 2016 and extended his “sincere greetings and best wishes” to the government and people.

“King Salman and I are leading bilateral relations to achieve great development and have strongly contributed to the promotion of peace, stability, prosperity and development in the region,” he said.

The Chinese leader said he was looking forward to the summits with Gulf and Arab leaders.

This visit is only Mr Xi's third overseas trip since the outbreak of Covid-19 in late 2019.

The pandemic has heavily affected China's international trade due to strict entry requirements.

Updated: December 09, 2022, 3:10 PM