Chinese FM touts fruitful Middle East tour, enhanced cooperation with regional countries

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Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa (R) meets with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) in Manama, Bahrain, March 29, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday that his six-nation tour in the Middle East has achieved the expected goals of enhancing cooperation with regional countries and making China's contribution to peace in the region.

Wang made the remarks during an interview as he concluded a week-long Middle East tour that took him to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Bahrain.

He said that his visit achieved rich results, including reaching broad consensuses with the six countries on continuing mutual support over core interests, upholding multilateralism, elevating pragmatic cooperation, enhancing joint anti-pandemic fight, and seeking political solution to hotspot issues in the region.

Broad consensuses reached

The Chinese diplomat said that during his visit, he reached broad consensuses over wide-ranging issues with the leaders of the six countries, which all welcomed China to play a bigger role in Middle East affairs.

"China and the countries agreed that the sovereign independence and national dignity of all countries should be respected, and independent and diverse ways of development should be promoted," Wang said.

They agreed to oppose interfering in other countries' internal affairs and slandering other countries under the guise of human rights, safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law, multilateralism, and international equity and justice, Wang said.

The seven countries, he said, vowed to upgrade their practical cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in light of China's construction of a new development paradigm.

On the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the countries pledged to continue their mutual support and reject politicization of the pandemic and vaccine, Wang said.

On the basis of China's successful vaccine cooperation with the UAE, Turkey and Bahrain, China and Mideast countries will continue to explore new patterns of vaccine cooperation, including tripartite cooperation and mutual recognition of health codes, he said.

The countries agreed that inclusive dialogue should be advocated in pursuing political settlement of hotspot regional issues, and the two-state solution should be the key for seeking an early, fair and reasonable solution to the Palestinian issue, the Chinese diplomat said.

Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, illegitimate sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction should be lifted as soon as possible, and compliance to the Iranian nuclear deal, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), should be resumed in an orderly manner with synchronization and reciprocity, he said.

China and the six countries also agreed to explore the establishment of a regional dialogue platform to maintain the security and stability of the Gulf through communication and consultation, Wang added.

Implementation of peace initiative

During his visit to Saudi Arabia, Wang unveiled a five-point initiative for achieving security and stability in the Middle East, which calls for advocating mutual respect, upholding equity and justice, achieving non-proliferation, jointly fostering collective security, and accelerating development cooperation.

The initiative was well received by many of the state leaders and foreign ministers during the visit, Wang said, noting that the Palestinian Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing willingness to cooperate with China to revive the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

He elaborated on the ways to implement the peace initiative through close communication and coordination with all the related parties:

Firstly, China fully supports the international mediation over the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When taking the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in May, China will push for holding full deliberation of this issue, and will host a seminar for Palestinian and Israeli peace activists on a proper date.

Secondly, China will continue its active participation in the process of resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. China has sent officials to Moscow to discuss with Russia and Iran the roadmap and timetable of reviving the nuclear deal. Also, China will keep close communication with Gulf countries over holding multilateral forums in China on the Gulf security, starting from easy topics such as safeguarding oil infrastructure and shipping-lane security.

Thirdly, China will boost vaccine cooperation with Mideast countries in a bid to help them speed up the return to normal life, promote recovery of local economies, and ensure smooth implementation of major projects with the Chinese participation.

Fourthly, China will hold in 2021 the China-Arab Reform and Development Forum and the Middle East Security Forum to enhance exchanges of experience in governance, promote dialogues between civilizations, and deepen cooperation on fighting terrorism and de-radicalization.

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