SCIO briefing on development of Belt and Road Initiative

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Ning Jizhe, vice director of the Office of the Leading Group for the Belt and Road Initiative, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, head of the National Bureau of Statistics

Qian Keming, vice minister of commerce

Zhang Jun, assistant minister of foreign affairs

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office of China

August 27, 2018

China Arab TV:

After President Xi Jinping's visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), what major plans will be introduced to promote the cultural exchanges between China and the UAE as well as other Arab countries? Thank you.

Ning Jizhe:

The UAE is the first stop of President Xi Jinping's first overseas visit after the first session of the 13th National People's Congress. This demonstrates the importance of the cooperation between the two countries. The bilateral cooperation covers a wide range of areas. I have been most involved in the economic exchanges. Many Chinese people have been to Dubai. China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited and Abu Dhabi Ports are enjoying strong cooperation on the development of Port Khalifa in Abu Dhabi. The port, under rapid construction, is expected to become one of the Chinese shipping company's pivot hubs in the Middle East. The China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone is also a highlight of the bilateral economic cooperation. Under the guidance of the development and reform commissions in Jiangsu province, related Chinese companies are working well with their UAE counterparts on the demonstration zone project.

In terms of cultural and tourism cooperation, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals in the UAE has exceeded one million a year. It shows that the UAE and China maintain close people-to-people exchanges. The UAE has granted visa-free or visa-on-arrival treatment to Chinese citizens. A great number of Chinese tourists travel to Dubai during the Spring Festival holiday each year.

The UAE has also taken an active part in global cultural events. In particular, with the UAE set to host the World Expo 2020, more tourists from China and other countries are expected to travel there, thus cementing the friendship between each other. With more coordinated policies, infrastructure connectivity has been enhanced through port cooperation and bilateral ties have been facilitated by the development of industrial zones. In terms of financial integration, the UAE has considerable economic strength, so we are ready to boost trilateral cooperation with the UAE in Africa and embrace more investment from the UAE in China. In addition, the people-to-people ties have also been strengthened. So, China-UAE relationship is an embodiment of "a five-pronged approach" to building the Belt and Road. Thank you.

Zhang Jun:

President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE, which is the first stop of his overseas trip in July, has delivered productive outcomes. President Xi received a warm welcome from people in the UAE and created an unforgettable experience with them. Both economic cooperation and cultural exchanges are important dimensions of the China-UAE relationship. I believe that the "Embrace China" Initiative launched by the UAE will play a significant role in promoting people-to-people and cultural exchanges among people from the countries along the Belt and Road. To boost such exchanges between each other, China and the UAE are negotiating about building Chinese cultural centers in Abu Dhabi. I think those measures by the two sides will improve our bilateral cooperation in all areas under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Qian Keming:

I think China and the UAE also enjoy huge potential for cooperation in innovation. I learnt during my recent visit to the UAE that the country has established foundations for innovation. In the building of one foundation, there is a 3D printed office constructed by a Chinese company. The UAE is a country of great creativity and China boasts a number of universities. Beijing Genomics Institute, a Chinese genome sequencing center, is cooperating with organizations in the UAE. So, I think China and the UAE can strengthen cooperation in innovation.

Hu Kaihong:

This concludes today's briefing. Thank you, Mr. Ning, Mr. Qian and Mr. Zhang. Thank you, friends from the press.

By Li Xiaohua, Chen Xia, Zhang Liying, Li Yang, Guo Yiming, Li Jingrong, Zhang Rui, Cui Can, Duan Yaying, Zhang Junmian, Huang Shan, Wang Qian, Li Huiru, Yuan Fang, Christopher Georgiou

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