By Li Minggang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Kuwait
From 7th to 10th July 2018, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid a successful state visit to China. During the visit, the two heads of state agreed to establish a strategic partnership between the two countries to open a new chapter of China-Kuwait relationship.
Over the past two years since the establishment of China-Kuwait strategic partnership, bilateral cooperation in various domains has grown in depth with fruitful and satisfactory results. China and Kuwait have seen ever-deeper political mutual trust and more frequent high-level exchanges, and have been mutually supportive in issues of our respective core interests and maintained close collaborations at the United Nations in the international arena.
Both sides have jointly implemented the consensus reached by the two heads of state, and successfully held the first meeting on China-Kuwait Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism for Implementation, the first meeting of the Silk City and Five Islands Construction Joint Steering Committee, and the Sixth Session of China-Kuwait Joint Economic and Trade Commission. Cooperation on 5G technology between China and Kuwait has become a pioneer and front-runner at the regional level, and Chinese companies in Kuwait have been actively involved in development of Kuwait’s projects in the sectors of energy, housing, infrastructure and others.
The Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) becomes the first foreign investor in China’s high-speed network. The past two years have seen not only the steady growth in bilateral trade, but also the increasingly close people-to-people exchanges featured with diversified cultural events and dynamic exchanges at the subnational level, which is conducive to deepening mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples.
This year has witnessed the ever-stronger China-Kuwait strategic partnership and mutual beneficial cooperation in our joint fight against COVID-19. China and Kuwait have stood firmly together and demonstrated solidarity and partnership through mutual support in the face of the crisis, which is a vivid example of how we pursue our shared future. President Xi Jinping and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah exchanged letters to express solidarity and support for each other. During the critical moments in China’s battle against the epidemic, Kuwait extended a helping hand and donated medical supplies to China, and in return, China has provided necessary facilitation to Kuwait in procuring medical supplies from China.
Furthermore, China dispatched a medical expert team to aid Kuwait’s COVID-19 response efforts, and invited officials and medical experts of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health and the Kuwaiti Army to attend several video conferences held by the Chinese side to discuss COVID-19 response and exchange experience. Chinese companies and the Chinese community in Kuwait actively donated medical supplies to our Kuwaiti friends.
Despite difficulties, some Chinese companies even handed over their staff quarters to the Kuwaiti side to be transformed into quarantine sites in order to support Kuwait’s fight against COVID-19. All these instances speak volumes about the determination of our two countries and peoples to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to combat the epidemic.
These impressive examples, embodying the mutual support between China and Kuwait during the COVID-19 epidemic, have demonstrated once again that the profound China-Kuwait friendship has withstood the test of time and will be always full of vitality. This is the inexhaustible source of strength and driving force for developing a sustained and in-depth China-Kuwait strategic partnership. Looking forward, given the huge potential for cooperation between China and Kuwait in all fields, we have full confidence in fostering China-Kuwait relationship to a new level.
We need to uphold the high-level guidance and enhance strategic coordination. China stands ready to work closely with Kuwait to firmly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries, and give full play to the leading role of high-level exchanges in promoting bilateral relations. We commit to maintain regular consultations and coordination on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest, consistently broaden the consensus, cement and deepen political mutual trust, and increase mutual understanding to and support each other on issues relating to our respective core interests and major concerns on a continual basis.
We need to pursue greater solidarity and cooperation to triumph over non-traditional security threats. In the era of economic globalization, traditional and non-traditional security threats are intertwined. In the shadow of the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Kuwait should proactively step up strategic cooperation, join hands to tackle the epidemic, and firmly support each other. China is poised to further boost public health cooperation with Kuwait, share our experience in epidemic prevention and control and clinical diagnosis and treatment, strengthen cooperation in vaccine research and development, and make joint efforts in building a China-Kuwait community of common health.
We need to fully tap the potentials to expand bilateral pragmatic cooperation in all fields. China and Kuwait are natural partners in the Belt and Road cooperation. China stands ready to work with Kuwait on the effective alignment the Belt and Road Initiative with Kuwait Vision 2035, continue its ongoing active engagement in the development of Kuwait’s Northern Economic Zone and other major projects, contribute to Kuwait’s efforts toward diversified economic development, and set new standards for bilateral strategic cooperation. China remains dedicated to standing with Kuwait to scale up bilateral cooperation covering energy, infrastructure, finance, trade and investment, actively foster economic recovery, unleash the potential for development, and make collective efforts to uphold and preserve multilateralism and free trade.
We need to enhance greater cultural exchanges and forge closer people-to-people ties. China is ready to strengthen closer communication and coordination with Kuwait to achieve the early implementation of visa facilitation measures with an aim to encourage more mutual exchanges and visits, increase exchanges and cooperation between our think tanks, youth, media and other sectors, and develop closer bilateral cultural and tourism ties. We will exert efforts towards the establishment of the China Cultural Center in Kuwait, which would be the first of its kind in the Gulf region, in order to build a bridge of better understanding and genuine communication between our two peoples.
China and Kuwait are good friends sharing mutual trust as well as invaluable partners for sincere cooperation. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Kuwait. We are keen and ready to work in concert with our Kuwaiti counterparts to bring the China-Kuwait strategic partnership to new heights that yields more benefits for our two countries and peoples, lend new impetus to the promotion of regional peace and development, and impart the new momentum to forging a China-Arab community with a shared future.