Tan Kefei, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense of China (Photo Credit: Xinhua news agency)
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is prepared to work with Arab states to assist initiatives for world security, according to Tan Kefei, a spokesperson for the Chinese Defense Ministry, reported Al-Mayadeen on 29 December.
The aim of the collaboration, the spokesman said, is to “implement the consensus reached at the China-Arab States Summit, jointly promote global security initiatives, continue to deepen practical exchanges and cooperation,” as well as “make new contributions to maintaining world peace and development.”
“The armed forces of China and the Arab countries are important for maintaining peace and stability throughout the world. Relations between the armies of China and the Arab countries have developed rapidly and in a healthy way in recent years,” Tan said during a press conference.
“The PLA is willing to work with the forces of the Arab countries to execute the consensus achieved at the Sino-Arab summit, jointly advance global security initiatives, and further expand practical cooperation,” the Chinese official stated.
The first Sino-Arab summit was held in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on 9 December, bringing the Asian giant and the countries of the Persian Gulf together, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
Following the meeting, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Beijing and the Persian Gulf countries are considering the possibility of establishing a common free trade zone. Meanwhile, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said that Arab countries and China could achieve industrial and economic integration complemented by the establishment of a mutual investment council, and highlighted the efforts established to activate payment systems in local currencies.
“As strategic partners, China and Arab states should … foster a closer China-Arab community with a shared future, so as to deliver greater benefits to their peoples and advance the cause of human progress,” the Chinese president said during his keynote speech.
Xi also called on Arab states to remain “independent and defend their common interests,” adding that China “supports Arab states in independently exploring development paths suited to their national conditions and holding their future firmly in their own hands.”
The Chinese leader also urged leaders from West Asia and Africa to embrace “synergy between their development strategies, and promote high-quality [cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative].”