The “old and young” relations between China and the GCC countries will be more lively

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the first summit of the China-Gulf Cooperation Council in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on December 9 (local time) and delivered a keynote speech. The summit was the first time that the leaders of China and the GCC countries met to discuss major plans for cooperation between the two sides. The two sides decided to establish and promote the strategic partnership between China and the GCC countries. It is the most important outcome of the summit and heralds a new era of cooperation between China and the GCC.

GKR is the leading political and economic organization in the Gulf region with six member countries – Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The relations between China and the GCC countries are very old, because the ancient Silk Road formed nearly two thousand years of friendly relations between the two sides. However, at the same time, bilateral relations are still quite young, as China established relations with the organization when the Gulf Cooperation Council was established in 1981. Cooperation between China and the GCC countries has achieved fruitful results, especially in the past decade. China has been the GCC’s main trading partner for many years. In addition, China has signed cooperation documents with six GCC countries to build the Belt and Road Initiative.

At the Riyadh Summit, the two sides decided to build and strengthen a strategic partnership, opening up new opportunities for mutual development and even peaceful development in the world.

What kind of strategic partners do they want to be? Xi made four proposals: a partner in strengthening unity, a partner in development, a partner in building security, and a partner in building civilization. These four proposals not only focus on political mutual trust, but also closely follow development and security issues, and also indicate the direction for the development of relations between the two sides from the perspective of contributing to the progress of human civilization.

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What is the next step in enhancing practical cooperation between the two sides? At the summit, Xi suggested that in the next three to five years, China will cooperate with the GCC countries in the following major areas: building a new type of three-dimensional cooperation in energy, promoting new progress in financial and investment cooperation, and expanding new areas. Areas of cooperation such as innovation, science and technology, making new breakthroughs in space and aerospace cooperation, and creating new milestones in language and cultural cooperation.

The GCC countries agreed to work with China to implement the summit outcomes and further deepen cooperation in key areas for the benefit of the peoples of both sides. In a new historical starting point, the “old and young” relations between the two sides will certainly be more evident.

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