Head-of-State Diplomacy Guides China-Kuwait Relations to New Development
Li Minggang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Kuwait
In July 2018, His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah paid a state visit to China and attended the opening ceremony of the 8th Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This is the seventh time that His Highness visited China, and also the first time he visited China in nine years, which has played an important role in reviewing the China-Kuwait relations in the past and paving the way for the future.
During the visit, President Xi held talks with His Highness the Amir. The two leaders agreed to establish strategic partnership between the two countries, and reached important consensus on enhancing pragmatic cooperation in various fields and witnessed the signing of several documents of bilateral cooperation.
As the head-of-state diplomacy has always been an important driving force for the rapid development of the relations between the two countries, the talks between President Xi and His Highness the Amir have charted a plan and direction for the development of the China-Kuwait relations in the new era, have opened new horizons for both countries, like a beacon which guides and ensures the development of the bilateral relations in terms of depth from a higher level and leads the bilateral cooperation in building the ‘belt and the road’ to more outcomes.
During the past year after the visit, both the Chinese and the Kuwaiti sides consider the implementation of the consensus of the two countries’ leaders as a primary goal of promoting the bilateral relations. President Xi and His Highness the Amir exchanged many messages, stressing the need to further strengthen the synergy between the development strategies of the two countries and to deepen pragmatic cooperation. In December last year, the envoy of His Highness the Amir, First Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah visited China and discussed with the Chinese side in particular the ways to implement the results of His Highness’s visit to China.
The Kuwaiti Council of Ministers established a special committee to follow up the implementation process. In February this year, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China Ning Jizhe visited Kuwait and chaired the first meeting of the Steering Committee for China-Kuwait Cooperation in the construction of ‘Silk City and the Five Islands,’ where they exchanged in-depth views mainly on China-Kuwait cooperation in the construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ and ‘Silk City and the Five Islands.’
During the second session of the ‘Belt and Road’ Forum for International Cooperation held in April this year, the Kuwaiti side signed memorandums of understanding with the China Development Bank and the China Association of City Planning, reflecting a new development achieved by the two countries in pragmatic cooperation under the framework of jointly building the ‘Belt and Road.’ In addition, the relevant authorities of both sides are actively working on the implementation of the other cooperation documents signed during the visit of His Highness the Amir concerning economy, trade, investment, smart city and other fields, pushing forward the cooperation in a stable manner.
Reviewing of the development of the China-Kuwait relations in the past one year shows that the bilateral cooperation in various fields has succeeded in achieving remarkable results, including the continuous deepening of mutual political trust between the two countries, and the constant support of the fundamental interests of both sides as well as in international forums.
In addition, the two sides have not stopped expanding their cooperation in the areas of energy, infrastructure, finance, trade, investment and others.
In 2018, bilateral trade between China and Kuwait had totaled 18.7 billion dollars, with an increase of 55.1 percent from the previous year. China remains Kuwait’s largest source of imports, and second largest export destination and Kuwait’s largest trading partner in non-oil fields. Kuwait is China’s ninth largest oil exporter.
China imported 23.21 million tons of crude oil from Kuwait, with an increase of 27.2 percent year-on-year, with a total value of $ 11.9 billion dollars with an increase of 68.48 percent year-on-year. By the end of 2018, the total number of projects that Chinese companies in Kuwait was 120 worth almost 21.5 billion dollars. In the conditions of harsh nature, Chinese builders, with their hard work and outstanding skills, are offering Kuwaiti society the exceptional competence inherent in ‘Built by China’ and making great contributions to advancing Kuwait’s development.
In order to bring the two peoples closer together, we have worked together with the local Kuwaiti authorities to send many Chinese cultural delegations to visit Kuwait for culture exchange, enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries. At present, the work to complete the establishment of the Chinese Culture Center is under way on a regular basis, and the two governments are intensively coordinating on mutual visa procedures to achieve the facilitation of exchange visits between the two peoples. We hope that our Kuwaiti friends will be able to feel and know China more deeply and become a witness, participant and beneficiary of friendship and cooperation between China and Kuwait.
The friendly exchange between China and Kuwait has always been a model for exchange between China and other countries in the region. With the growing instability and ambiguity in international relations and the current situation in the region, the stable and right development of China-Kuwait strategic partnership has not only been a new driving force in promoting peace and development in the region, but also provided new energy to shape a community of shared future for China and all Arab countries and advance the reform of the global administrative system and build a community of shared future for mankind.
In the future, we will work harder together with the Kuwaiti side to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, further strengthen the strategic partnership between China and Kuwait and push forward pragmatic cooperation in all fields under the framework of cooperation in building the ‘Belt and Road,’ in order to achieve more results and bring more benefits to the two countries and peoples and jointly write a new chapter of friendship and cooperation.