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17:06, January 19, 2012

Chinese premier puts forward three-point proposal on China-Arab relations
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday put forward a three-point proposal on China-Arab relations, saying that it is important for both sides to work closely in the face of the current complex international circumstances.

First, Wen called for strengthening political mutual trust and deepening strategic cooperation.

"To increase mutual understanding and trust, promote strategic cooperation and support each other's core concerns serves our common interests," Wen said in a speech at the fourth China-Arab Business Conference and Investment Seminar in Sharjah, one of the UAE's seven sheikhdoms.

China supports the efforts of the Gulf countries and the Gulf Cooperation Council in maintaining stability and improving people's well-being, Wen said.

"We support countries in the region in choosing independently a development path suited to their national conditions," Wen said.

China is ready to work with the Arab countries to play a constructive role in regional and international affairs and build a more just and equitable new international political and economic order.

Second, Wen urged deepening mutually beneficial cooperation for common development.

China and the Arab countries are highly complementary economically and enjoy bright prospects for business cooperation, Wen said.

"We need to open our markets wider to each other and fully tap our comparative strengths to expand trade," the premier said.

He said China has no intention of pursuing a trade surplus and wants to import more from Arab countries, especially non-energy products, to make China-Arab trade better structured and more stable.

"We need to enhance mutual understanding and trust, deepen energy and resources cooperation and build a long-term and stable cooperative relationship of mutual benefit," he said.

Beijing will continue to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Arab countries and to undertake more large projects, and at the same time welcome Arab companies to invest and develop business in China, he said.

A major step to deepen China-Arab business cooperation is to build the China-GCC Free Trade Area, which will be a milestone in China-Arab relations, said the Chinese premier.

Thirdly, Wen proposed expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges and carrying forward the traditional friendship.

China, the premier said, supports the holding of the China-Arab Civilization Dialogue, the China-Arab Friendship Conference and the China-Arab Press Cooperation Seminar on a continuous basis.

China also welcomes more exhibitions, art festivals, cultural weeks and publication of more fine works by the two sides, he said.

"We would like to see more exchange students between us and will continue to promote Arabic language teaching in China," he said.

"We hope to receive more Arab tourists in China and support more Arab countries in acquiring the Approved Destination Status for Chinese tourists," he added.

Wen arrived in the UAE on Monday after concluding an official visit to Saudi Arabia. The trip will then take him to Qatar.

Source: Xinhua
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