The second joint ministerial meeting for strategic dialogue between Gulf Cooperation Council states and China concluded today in Abu Dhabi.
UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan chaired the GCC side while the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi co-chaired the meeting representing People's Republic of China.
GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani participated in the ministerial meeting.
The meeting discussed regional and international issues of common interest and the conduct of relations between the two sides in all fields within the framework of implementation of the memorandum of understanding for strategic dialogue between them.
Sheikh Abdullah said in his opening statement that the meeting has special significance in the light of the circumstances and the rapid transformations witnessed in the region.
He added that the growing economic and political importance of China in the present world increases its central role and responsibility at the international level.
This prompts us to look forward to further coordination and cooperation at all levels, especially due to the economic and political importance both the GCC and China share in the global economy, said Sheikh Abdullah.
As part of achieving such cooperation, we bear the responsibility for activating the Framework Convention signed between China and the GCC, covering the areas of the exchange of experiences in certain areas, he added.
"We suggest to include the areas of transfer of technology and renewable energy that are of great importance to both sides as they present huge potential", Sheikh Abdullah said.
He added: "As we focus on these areas, we give an example of the projects and areas that can enhance the pace of joint cooperation and provide a solid foundation for the achievement of the Gulf-Chinese Partnership on the ground".
He continued: "You might have noticed along with us a state of instability in the Arab Gulf region as a result of the Iranian interference in the internal affairs of the GCC countries, which was evident in particular in Bahrain and Kuwait. All of us in the GCC consider this a threat to the security and stability of the these States. Moreover, this intervention works to promote a climate of mistrust and skepticism about the intentions, thereby undermining the possibility of hope in terms of providing stability in the near future".
He went on to say that the Iranian nuclear program causes great concern in the Gulf countries and that was why the GCC states keep on urging Iran to work honestly in order to provide the highest standards of transparency in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency We also continue to call on Iran to work hand in hand with the countries of the region and the international community in order to make the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, Sheikh Abdullah said. Of course, all countries of the region have the full and undeniable right for the development of the fields of peaceful use of nuclear energy, said Sheikh Abdullah.
The successive events witnessed and is still taking place in many countries of the Middle East require from us deep concern and the need to exert more effort in order to promote security and stability in our region which is of pivotal and important to the world; stressed Sheikh Abdullah.
Citing an example of the repercussions of the instability Sheikh Abdullah said that it caused a major upsurge in oil prices due to increased risks. This increase risked the growth opportunities and the exit from the profound financial and economic crisis the world has known during the last seven decades.
GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani said the GCC and China have a significant opportunity to expand their economic partnership through the increase of trade exchange, bilateral investment and joint public-private investment partnerships whereas the GCC lends - for the time being - proper attention to private investment in agriculture and food production.
Turning to the GCC-China negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the GCC chief noted that the two sides had go along way over the elapsed five rounds of negotiations since they were launched in 2006.
''We are looking forward for convening the six round of FTA negotiations following the completion of a set of studies. The GCC welcomed a Chinese proposal to hold a technical meeting for discussing outstanding issues before the resumption of negotiations,'' he added.
Al Zayani noted that despite the world economic slowdown, the GCC and China had maintained health economic and trade growth rates in comparison with other parts of the world with trade exchange doubling several times from US$ 17 billion in 2003 to 95 billion last year.
For his part, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, said the GCC-China bonds had seen steady progress over the recent years and produced fruitful results.
He added that the joint strategic dialogue mechanism would deepen mutual confidence, boost bilateral cooperation, serve mutual interests and enhance channels of cooperation and coordination.