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Thursday, February 12, 2009

China to boost relations with GCC: President Hu

Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and China have pledged to work together to reform the world financial system. “Riyadh and Beijing have agreed to keep close contacts with a view to reforming the global financial institutions,” said Chinese President Hu Jintao after talks with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah.

Beijing also seeks to expand its ties with Gulf states within the framework of a new vision of bilateral relations that has been set out by the two blocs: the GCC and China. “Beijing would like to boost links with the six-nation GCC in all sectors,” Hu said.

A keen desire to boost Sino-GCC relations and a plan for joint efforts with the Kingdom to ensure better functioning of the global system figured prominently during Hu’s talks with senior Saudi and GCC officials yesterday. The global crisis was also discussed with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Tuesday night.

“The international situation is undergoing profound changes. In particular, the global financial crisis has posed severe challenges to us,” said the Chinese leader.

Saudi Arabia and China will work closer at the G-20 Summit to be held on April 2, he added. Both countries are members of G-20, which is working on an ambitious plan to draft and adopt new rules and measures to confront the new challenges amid global financial crisis, especially new accounting, auditing and banks’ reporting rules.

Hu said that China and Saudi Arabia should step up coordination, work more closely on trade and investment, jointly respond to and guard against financial risks, in an effort to ensure the two countries’ economic and financial stability. On the second day of his visit yesterday, the Chinese leader also visited Riyadh Cement Company, which has just contracted China’s Sinoma International Engineering to expand its production lines.

Hu also met with the Chinese Embassy staff, members of the local Chinese community and representatives of several Chinese companies here yesterday. Referring to his talks with GCC chief Al-Attiyah, Hu said that trade liberalization measures topped the agenda of the talks, while trade, investment and energy relations were discussed in detail.

“In recent years, friendship between China and GCC member states has also witnessed comprehensive development,” said a statement obtained by Arab News yesterday.

Later, the Chinese leader visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), where a group of Chinese scientists are working on a research project, studying the gene of dates.

“The project is a symbol of cooperation between the two countries in the sector of science and technology,” an official in Hu’s delegation said.

KACST has direct cooperation with many international scientific bodies, which also include the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

In fact, a 20-member team from CAS is working with their Saudi counterparts on such projects as date-planting and camel-gene research at the moment, said a KACST official.

KACST has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei Technologies, China’s leading telecommunications equipment manufacturer, to strengthen cooperation in telecom technology and personnel training, he added.

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