Chinese premier to visit Arab Nations, Attend Energy Summit

Discussion in 'China' started by ejazr, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Wen to Visit Arab Nations, Attend Energy Summit

    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay an official visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar from Jan. 14 to 19, vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said on Wednesday.

    Wen's visit comes at the invitation of King and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani.

    Premier Wen will attend the Fifth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi at the invitation of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Zhai said.

    The current global situation is experiencing the deepest and most complicated changes since the Cold War while various new problems and challenges are emerging, Zhai said.

    The difficulty of global governance is growing, Zhai said. Events including the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the 9/11 attack, Afghanistan war, Iraq war and the international financial crisis have brought a profound and complicated impact on the national and regional situation and even the global political and economic situation.

    While China and Arab countries are developing countries, Zhai said, all of us are facing the tasks of development, stability and peace.

    China has been maintaining stable development of the relationship with Arab and Muslim countries, while keeping good coordination and cooperation on important regional and international issues.

    China regards Arab countries as friends, partners and brothers, Zhai said. "China will work with them to continuously consolidate and push strategic cooperation and common development."

    It will be the first international visit by a Chinese leader this year, Zhai said, and China's important diplomatic activity in the Gulf.

    The visit is also significant for deepening the relationship between China and the three countries, pushing cooperation between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and boosting development of the overall relationship between China and Arab countries and the Muslim world, Zhai said.

    Wen will exchange views with the leaders on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern, Zhai said.

    Premier Wen's visit is the first by a Chinese Premier to Saudi Arabia in 20 years, Zhai said.
    Bilateral relations between China and Saudi Arabia have witnessed fast development. Meetings of both sides' leaders are frequent, Zhai said, and the economic and trade cooperation has made abundant achievements.

    Bilateral trade from January to November last year amounted to 58.1 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 50 percent year-on-year, Zhai said, adding that the two sides enjoy increasingly vigorous cooperation in science, education, culture and society.

    In 2008, China and Saudi Arabia established strategic friendly relations, Zhai said. Under the new situation, the two sides have strong desire to beef up the bilateral relations and further develop cooperation.

    During his visit, Premier Wen is scheduled to meet with King and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz, Secretary General of the GCC Abdullatif al-Zayani, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
    And the two governments will sign a joint statement to promote the strategic cooperation relationship and deepen cooperation in all fields, Zhai said.

    He also said China and Saudi Arabia will sign a series of cooperation agreements in economy, trade, education and culture.

    Wen's visit to the UAE will be the first visit there by a Chinese premier since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

    "The China-UAE relation has come a long way in the last 27 years," Zhai said. Both sides have frequent high-level exchanges and steady growth in economic cooperation.

    In the first 11 months in 2011, the bilateral trade volume was 31.9 billion U.S. dollars.

    "Bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, finance and culture has been enriched and leaders of the two countries have a broad consensus on deepening the cooperation," Zhai said.

    During his visit, Wen will meet with the president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

    Wen will hold talks with the UAE vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, visit some China-UAE projects and attend some cultural activities.

    The two governments will sign a joint statement on establishing a strategic partnership between the two countries, which will become a guideline document for bilateral relations.

    As an important part of Wen's schedule, he will attend and address the opening ceremony of the Fifth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, one of the biggest and most influential international meetings on renewable energy sources.

    Wen will also attend the opening ceremony of a China-UAE entrepreneurs conference and investment seminar.

    Wen's visit to Qatar will be the first visit there by a Chinese premier since diplomatic ties were established between the two countries.
    "In recent years the bilateral relationship moved forward smoothly," Zhai said.

    In the first 10 months of 2011,the bilateral trade volume was 5.1 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 72 percent year on year.

    According to Zhai, Wen's visit will deepen mutual understanding and advance mutual beneficial cooperation in all fields.

    During the visit, Premier Wen will meet with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad,Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani and Qatari Crown Prince Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

    "Leaders of the two countries will exchange views on deepening cooperation in all fields and other issues of common concerns," Zhai said.

    The two sides will also sign cooperation agreements in finance and investment and other fields.
     
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Wen in Arabia - Indian Express

    As mounting regional tension threatens the world’s energy lifeline in the Middle East, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is heading to the Arabian Peninsula to secure Beijing’s vital regional interests. Since India’s own dilemmas in the oil-rich Gulf are no different from those of China, Delhi would be eager to see how Wen does the balancing act between Arabia and Iran next week.

    In what is being billed as China’s highest-level diplomatic mission to the region in two years, Wen is travelling next week to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The last significant Chinese visitor to the region was President Hu Jintao in 2009. The foreign office in Beijing said Wen’s talks with the leaders of the three countries will “promote the development of China’s relations with the Arab and the Islamic worlds”. During his six-day visit to Arabia, Wen will address the Fifth Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
    Saudi Arabia is China’s top supplier of oil. Beijing is on the verge of overtaking the United States as the largest importer of Saudi petroleum crude. Qatar has also emerged as the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas to China. While Saudi Arabia is the traditional leader of the region, Qatar has emerged as a new diplomatic force in the Greater Middle East. As the commercial hub of the region, the UAE is one of China’s top trading partners.
    Wen’s visit to Saudi Arabia is expected to take Beijing-Riyadh ties beyond the buyer-seller relationship. Among the many deals expected to be announced is a joint venture between one of China’s leading oil companies, Sinopec and the Saudi state-owned company Aramco. The two corporates plan to build a 400,000 barrel-a-day refinery at the Red Sea port of Yanbu. This is Sinopec’s first overseas refinery and follows an earlier venture between the two companies to build a joint refinery in southern China.
    The Saudi effort to tighten linkages with the petroleum sector in China is part of a definitive move by King Abdullah to build a strong political partnership with Beijing. King Abdullah became the first Saudi sovereign to visit China in January 2006.
    Talking Tehran

    Tehran is conspicuous by its absence on Wen’s itinerary to the Middle East. But Iran is likely to figure prominently in Wen’s conversations with Arab leaders. With nearly half of all China’s oil sourced from the Middle East, any instability in the region is of great concern to Beijing.
    Amidst the growing regional tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the widening Shia-Sunni conflict, Wen has a delicate task balancing Beijing’s interests on both sides of the Arab-Persian divide. In the last decade, China’s ties with Iran have deepened as Beijing courted the Arab nations. China is already the top oil importer from Iran and has resisted US calls to tighten international sanctions against Iran.

    China’s leverage
    If Saudi Arabia plans to quietly seek Chinese support in isolating Iran during Wen’s trip, the US has publicly pressed Beijing to cut back its ties to Tehran.
    The US treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, is in Beijing with the same message. The big question is whether Geithner has a goody bag that can tempt China to rethink, if only a little.
    On the face of it, China is resisting US calls. In the last few days, senior officials in Beijing have reaffirmed that energy cooperation with Iran should not be linked to the nuclear question and argued that a conflict with Iran will cause great damage to the global economy and affect the prospects for recovery.
    Beyond the formal public defence of Iran, some analysts would argue, China might want to cash in its leverage for lasting gains with the Arabs as well as the United States. These could involve stronger commitments for energy security from Saudi Arabia. Beijing also wants Washington to lift its current restrictions on high-technology transfers to China.
    There are others who would argue China can’t sacrifice its long-term interests in Iran and won’t tilt towards the US and Arabs in their confrontation with Tehran.

    The writer is a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, Delhi.
     
  4. SADAKHUSH

    SADAKHUSH Senior Member Senior Member

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    I agree with the last paragraph of the article very much. I think he will be told in no uncertain terms that China has to help in isolating Iran. GCC tasted the effects of Arab uprising and under no circumstances they will allow it to be repeated. SA Kingdom and Yemen have also experienced the violence at the hands of Al Queda. Therefore GCC will not allow them to get established with a strong following among the Arab youth.

    If China shows the signs of non co-operation than they will have to deal with more uprising among their muslim population which they have already experienced. It is sign of things to come if china does not go along with GCC wish list.

    What, I fear the most is the direct confrontation between Iran and GCC. Which way Iraq tilts is an open question? It might also take a turn towards all out sectarian war Sunni against Shia's, I hope sanity prevails among the leaders of the region.
     

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