Kuwaiti, Chinese officials laud bilateral ties

KUWAIT, March 17 (KUNA) — A host of Kuwaiti and Chinese officials taking part in a major event held Thursday commended well-established and distinguished bilateral ties, as well as mutual keenness on promoting them to serve the interests of both countries.
The officials addressed a seminar on “Chinese-Kuwaiti ties and Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.” Chinese ambassador in Kuwait Wang Di pointed to the deep-rooted bilateral ties, established more than 45 years ago, saying that “Kuwait is the reliable friend for China in the region.” It was the first Arab country in the Gulf to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing.
China supports Kuwait’s efforts to protect the latter’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, a matter that has enhanced political confidence between both countries over the past years, Wang said.
He noted that bilateral ties have been promoted over these years through exchange of expertise and senior officials’ visits, especially by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the last of which was in 2009.
According to Wang, Kuwait is among the Gulf states that have economic cooperation with China. It was also the first Arab country to offer soft loans for development projects in China.
Moreover, Kuwait is the first world country to sign a cooperation document with China on cooperation for the Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Kuwait is a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
For his part, former Kuwaiti Ambassador to China, Faisal Al-Ghaith, highlighted Beijing’s support to Kuwaiti legitimacy after the Iraqi Invasion in 1990. Late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the country after the 1991 Liberation to express gratitude to the Chinese leadership.
He added that the Kuwaiti diplomatic mission in China is among the biggest there, with an embassy and two consulates; a third one is planned to be opened soon in Shanghai.
Also, Kuwaiti has four offices in China; Military Liaison, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), Kuwait Petroleum International and the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA).
This shows great interest in promoting ties with China, Al-Ghaith said.
As for bilateral sports ties, they began soon after diplomatic relations were established in 1971, a senior official at the Public Authority for Sports (PAS) told the event.
PAS Deputy Director General Ahmad Al-Khazal pointed to the role by Chinese coaches for promoting performance of Kuwaiti athletes in the 1970s and 1980s. This was a time of booming Kuwaiti sports.
Deputy Director General of Editorial Sector Affairs and Editor-in-Chief of Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) Saad Al-Ali stressed in his statement to the seminar China’s keenness on considering legitimate interests with the Arab and other developing countries.
Al-Ali cited the initiative by the Chinese president for participation in Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, a significant step to boost openness to Western China.
He stressed the need for further efforts by the Arab World, Kuwait and China to reinforce human and cultural communication, to pave the way for achieving the aspired integration. Al-Ali referred to a mutual relative lack of cultural knowledge.
The goal behind the Silk Road Belt is not confined exchanging goods, techniques and ideas, but it seeks comprehensive development of all dimensions, economic, cultural and social, through consolidating values of dialogue and interaction among all cultures, Al-Ali said.
He referred to Kuwait’s “cultural privacy,” part of which is the country’s deep-rooted civilization and human weight.
The KUNA senior official said that Kuwait’s culture is among the most active in the region, for the broad margin of freedom the country’s enjoys on the Arab and the Gulf levels. He said that Kuwait was also chosen the “Capital of Islamic Culture 2016.” China acknowledged Kuwait as soon as the latter obtained its independence and sovereignty in 1961, advisor to the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) Dr. Aid Al-Manaa told the event.
Bilateral relations have moved to wider dimensions thanks to exchange of senior officials’ visits, he added.
Meanwhile, a major event on China is slated for April 5-6 in the Kuwait University.
It will be held under “China’s Great Day at the Kuwait University,” Dean of the College of Social Sciences at the Kuwait University, Dr. Humoud Al-Qashaan, said. Up to big 30 Chinese companies are taking part.
Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese embassy Zhu Lian, praised bilateral cooperation, saying that Kuwait ranks as the seventh biggest oil exporter to his country.
Oil imports from Kuwait have been remarkably on the rise last year, jumping to 14.4 million tons, he said.
In addition, many Chinese companies have taken part in carrying out development projects in Kuwait.
Bilateral trade hit USD five billion in 2014, apart from oil and its derivatives, director of international relations at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Fahad Al-Baqer said.
Last year, trade exchange reached USD 11.3 billion, director of economic department at the Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (SCPD) Talal Al-Shammari said.
In 2015, oil exports to China rose by 35 percent compared to 2014, a record in the history of bilateral ties, he added.
Representative of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) Yousef Al-Bader, said that they cooperated with China for the first time in 1982.
KFAED has financed 37 projects there, with total value of KD380 million (USD 950 million). He added.
In addition, the fund agreed in a meeting last month to finance two more projects there. (end) hrz.abd.msa