File photo taken on May 13, 2015 shows the workboat of a Chinese archaeological team for the archaeological work of the Shanhu Island No. 1 shipwreck in the Xisha archipelago in the South China Sea.(Xinhua)
File photo taken on May 13, 2015 shows the workboat of a Chinese archaeological team for the archaeological work of the Shanhu Island No. 1 shipwreck in the Xisha archipelago in the South China Sea.(Xinhua)

In a statement issued Thursday at the seventh Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum held in Doha, capital of Qatar, the participating Arab countries said they support China’s efforts to peacefully resolve territorial and maritime differences with certain nations through friendly dialogues and negotiations.

File photo taken on May 13, 2015 shows the workboat of a Chinese archaeological team for the archaeological work of the Shanhu Island No. 1 shipwreck in the Xisha archipelago in the South China Sea.(Xinhua)
File photo taken on May 13, 2015 shows the workboat of a Chinese archaeological team for the archaeological work of the Shanhu Island No. 1 shipwreck in the Xisha archipelago in the South China Sea.(Xinhua)

They also stressed that the rights of sovereign nations as well as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea signatories to choose how they solve their disputes should be respected.

“It is praiseworthy that Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby, some Arab countries and the Doha statement confirmed their support for China’s stance on the South China Sea issue,” Gong Xiaosheng, China’s special envoy on the Middle East issue, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Friday.

Top diplomats from Algeria, Comoros, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, in their separate meetings with Wang on the sidelines of the China-Arab forum, expressed their support for China’s position on the South China Sea issue, stressing that related disputes should be solved through negotiations.

“One outstanding point of the ministerial meeting of the forum is that China and Arab countries support each other on the issues of common concern,” Gong said.

At the meeting under the theme of “Working together on the Belt and Road Initiative and deepening China-Arab strategic cooperation,” around 200 representatives from 22 Arab countries discussed the future development of China-Arab relations with the Chinese delegation led by Wang.

Both China and the Arab world agreed to use the Belt and Road Initiative as the lodestar to promote their relations, Wang told reporters Thursday.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was announced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The aim is to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road.

Wang said the initiative is a historic opportunity for China and the Arab nations to boost common development and national rejuvenation, while urging the two sides to be each other’s most reliable and long-lasting partners.

“The economy of Mideast countries, especially Gulf countries, and the Chinese economy are highly complementary. Therefore, both sides are eying broad prospects for their cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Gong said.

The Chinese envoy said the Belt and Road Initiative will be the most important contribution China makes to the Mideast peace process.

Against the backdrop of the Mideast turbulence rooted in its economic and social problems, China proposes resolving the Middle East issue through negotiations, enhancing cooperation and jointly combating terrorism, which is in the basic interests of regional countries, Gong said.

“The Belt and Road Initiative put forward by China highlighting economic cooperation and resolving economic problems through development is at least a good way to solve regional issues,” Gong said.

“The reason why China’s proposal is welcomed and supported by Arab countries is that they see there is no better solutions (than developing the economy),” he added.

The China-Arab Cooperation Forum is a very practical cooperative mechanism, under which both parties have made new progress at every meeting and carried out concrete projects, Gong said.

“China and Arab countries now enjoy content-rich bilateral cooperation in politics, economy and people-to-people exchanges,” Gong said, adding that the two sides are cooperating in such areas as railways, harbors, energy and telecommunication.

Source: Xinhua

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