Friendship between China and Arab states dates back to ancient times. Over two thousand years ago, land and maritime Silk Roads already linked the Chinese and Arab nations. In the long stretches of history, peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, learning from each other, mutual benefit and win-win results have always been the main theme of exchanges between China and Arab countries.
The founding of the People's Republic of China and the independence of Arab countries created a new era for China-Arab friendly exchanges. From 1956 to 1990, China established diplomatic relations with all 22 Arab countries. China firmly supports Arab national liberation movement, firmly supports Arab countries' struggle to uphold sovereignty and territorial integrity, pursue and safeguard national interests, and combat external interference and aggression, and firmly supports Arab countries' cause of developing the national economy and building up the countries. Arab countries have given China strong support in restoring its lawful seat at the United Nations and on issues like the Taiwan question.
After the end of the Cold War, both China and Arab countries have followed the world trend of peace, development and cooperation, respected each other, treated each other as equals, and committed themselves to deepening the traditional friendship and the bilateral relations. Cooperation in political, trade and economic, scientific and technological, cultural and educational, military, health, sports, news,and other fields has achieved fruitful results, thus enabling the establishment of the friendly and cooperative relationship oriented toward the 21st century.
In 2004, China-Arab States Cooperation Forum was set up. Since then, it has developed into a collective cooperation platform covering many fields and with more than ten mechanisms. In 2010, China and Arab countries established the strategic cooperative relations of comprehensive cooperation and common development, and China-Arab collective cooperation entered a new stage of comprehensive development and upgrading. President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the opening ceremony of the Sixth Ministerial Conference of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, identifying key areas and priority directions of China-Arab collective cooperation, and providing guidance for the development of the China-Arab relations and the Forum.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Arab countries 60 years ago, cooperation in all fields has been constantly deepened. China has built comprehensive strategic partnership, strategic partnership or strategic cooperative partnership with eight Arab countries, and has set up a strategic dialogue mechanism with the Gulf Cooperation Council. Arab countries as a whole have become China's biggest supplier of crude oil and the 7th biggest trading partner. China's proposed initiatives of jointly building the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road", establishing a "1+2+3" cooperation pattern (to take energy cooperation as the core,infrastructure construction and trade and investment facilitation as the two wings, and three high and new tech fields of nuclear energy, space satellite and new energy as the three breakthroughs), and industrial capacity cooperation, are well received by Arab countries. Both sides have broad consensus on safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity, defending national dignity, seeking political resolution to hotspot issues, and promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. We share similar views on issues such as reform of the United Nations, climate change and Doha Round trade negotiations, and maintain sound coordination and cooperation. Cultural and educational exchanges are more frequent and people-to-people ties are getting closer with enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
Over the past 60 years, China-Arab friendly cooperation has made historic leaps in breadth and depth. It has become a model of South-South cooperation and gained the following successful experience: both sides have always respected and treated each other as equals and remained brothers, friends and partners no matter what happens on the world arena; both sides have insisted on the principle of mutual benefit, win-win and common development and have pursued common interests and sustainable development no matter what changes or developments take place on either side; and both sides have promoted dialogue, exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, and have always respected each other's social system and development path no matter what differences exist in ideology.
The Chinese Government has issued the first China's Arab Policy Paper on the basis of reviewing and summarizing the experience in the development of China-Arab relations. It stipulates the guiding principle for developing China-Arab relations, offers the blueprint for China-Arab mutually beneficial cooperation, and reiterates the political will of commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East, in order to promote China-Arab relations to a new and higher level.