Chinese President Xi Jinping recently made an official three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, during which he attended three summits: a Saudi-Chinese Summit, a summit between China and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and an Arab-Chinese Summit attended by over 30 leaders and officials.
The closing statements of the GCC-China and the Arab-China summits stressed the desire of both sides to strengthen their strategic partnership and cooperation, and expressed joint positions on a wide range of topics. Especially conspicuous were references to two issues of intense concern for each of the sides. Oneis these issues was that of Taiwan, which is highly important to China. Both closing statements stressed the leaders' support for China's efforts to maintain its territorial integrity and adhere to the one-China principle. The closing statement of the Arab-China summit addressed this topic more explicitly by "reaffirming that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory and rejecting Taiwan's 'independence' in all its forms." It also expressed support for the Chinese position on Hong Kong, commending "the People's Republic of China's efforts to maintain national security and develop and perfect democracy in Hong Kong within the framework of one country, two systems."
The second issue, pointedly addressed in the closing statement of the GCC summit, was that of Iran, which is of great concern to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The statement called for the relations between Iran and the GCC to be based on good neighborliness, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for independence, and the avoidance of force and the threat of force. At the same time, it stressed the need "to address the Iranian nuclear file and destabilizing regional activities, address support for terrorist and sectarian groups and illegal armed organizations, prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles and drones, ensure the safety of international navigation and oil installations, and adhere to UN resolutions and international legitimacy." There was also a call "to ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program" and for Iran "to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency."
In addition, the statement expressed support for the GCC position on the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, which are held by Iran but claimed by the UAE, by commending "all peaceful efforts, including the initiative and endeavors of the United Arab Emirates, to reach a peaceful solution to [this] issue… through bilateral negotiations in accordance with the rules of international law."
Another issue emphasized in this closing statement was that of Yemen. The leaders "affirmed their support for the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen, headed by His Excellency President Dr Rashad Al Alimi, expressing their hope to reach a political solution" in the country, and called on all Yemeni parties to immediately initiate direct negotiations and to maintain the armistice. They also "condemned all terrorist attacks launched by the Houthi militia on civilian targets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Yemeni interior and in the waterways and international shipping routes, and called on all countries to cooperate in combating these acts and to abide by the arms embargo stipulated in Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2624."
The Chinese president with Gulf leaders (image: emaratalyoum.com, December 10, 2022)
The following is the English text of the GCC-China summit's closing statement, as published by the Saudi official press agency, and the English text of the Arab-China summit's closing statement, as published by the Bahraini official press agency.
GCC-China Summit Stresses "The Need To Address The Iranian Nuclear File And Destabilizing Regional Activities," Calls "To Ensure The Peaceful Nature Of The Iranian Nuclear Program," Urges Iran To Cooperate With IAEA
"The [GCC-China summit] issued the following:
"1. The leaders agreed to strengthen the existing strategic partnership between the GCC and China, and emphasized pushing it towards new horizons in various political, economic and cultural fields, and approved the joint action plan for the coming period (2023-2027) to achieve this.
"2. The leaders directed the continuation of the strategic dialogue between the two sides at all levels to discuss issues of common concern and coordinate positions on them, support international economic recovery efforts, address the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges, work to ensure flexibility of supply chains, security of food and energy supplies, and advance building cooperation relations in developing clean energy sources and technologies, assisting countries most in need and contributing to meeting their humanitarian needs.
"3. The leaders emphasized the importance of mutual support in order to achieve the common interests of both sides, as China supports the efforts of the GCC states to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintain its security and stability, and achieve integrated development. The GCC states also support China's efforts to develop its economy, maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and adhere to the one-China principle.
"4. The leaders stressed the importance of continuing to deepen cooperation between the two sides in the fields of energy, trade, investment, finance, industry, advanced technology, space and health, in the common interest of both sides, including completing free trade negotiations between them as soon as possible.
"5. The leaders expressed their keenness to promote dialogue between civilizations, communication and mutual benefit between different cultures, and to preserve cultural diversity. They emphasized that tolerance and coexistence between nations and peoples are among the most important principles and values upon which the international community is based. They encouraged communication and cooperation between the two sides in the fields of culture, education, tourism, media and sports, friendly exchange between intellectual institutions and rapprochement between peoples.
"6. The leaders praised the State of Qatar's success in hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, its good organization, and its positive effects on the human heritage and the cultural and intellectual rapprochement between the peoples of the world. The leaders also denounced the malicious media campaigns directed against the State of Qatar. They welcomed the State of Qatar's hosting of the meetings of the second part of the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), from March 5, 2023, to March 9, 2023, at the level of heads of state and government.
"7. The leaders expressed their condemnation of terrorism, whatever its source, and their rejection of all its forms and manifestations, and work to dry up its sources of financing, and expressed their determination to strengthen regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and extremism, and to prevent financing, arming, and recruitment of terrorist groups of all individuals and entities, and to confront all activities that threaten the security of the region and its stability.
"8. The leaders discussed regional and international issues, where visions agreed on the importance of concerted efforts to achieve peace, security, stability and prosperity in all parts of the world, and the priority of restoring international peace and security, through mutual respect and cooperation between countries to achieve development and progress, and adherence to the principles of international law and international humanitarian law, the Charter of the United Nations and good neighborliness, preserving the international order based on respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, and non-use or threat of force.
"9. The leaders stressed the need to support the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the GCC region, and ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, in order to preserve regional and international security and stability. They reaffirmed the call on Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"10. The two sides stressed the need for relations between the GCC states and Iran to be based on following the principle of good neighborliness and non-interference in internal affairs, respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and resolving disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, and not resorting to the use of force or threatening to use it, and maintaining regional and international security and stability.
"11. The leaders stressed the importance of a comprehensive dialogue with the participation of the countries of the region to address the Iranian nuclear file and destabilizing regional activities, address support for terrorist and sectarian groups and illegal armed organizations, prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles and drones, ensure the safety of international navigation and oil installations, and adhere to UN resolutions and international legitimacy.
"12. The leaders affirmed their support for all peaceful efforts, including the initiative and endeavors of the United Arab Emirates to reach a peaceful solution to the issue of the three islands; Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, through bilateral negotiations in accordance with the rules of international law, and to resolve this issue in accordance with international legitimacy.
"13. The leaders called on the Republic of Iraq to respect the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait and the sanctity of its lands and to abide by Security Council resolutions, especially Resolution No. 833 and the agreements concluded between the two countries and deposited with the United Nations. The leaders also called on the Republic of Iraq to complete the demarcation of the maritime borders with the State of Kuwait.
"14. The leaders stressed the need to reach a just solution to the Palestinian cause on the basis of the two-state solution, in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, stopping settlement and all unilateral measures, and respecting the historical status quo in the city of Jerusalem and its sanctities.
"15. The leaders affirmed their support for the Presidential Leadership Council in Yemen, headed by His Excellency President Dr Rashad Al Alimi, expressing their hope to reach a political solution in accordance with the GCC initiative and its Executive Mechanism, the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the Security Council resolution 2216. They called on all Yemeni parties to immediately initiate direct negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, and to adhere to the continuation of the armistice, and to support the humanitarian, relief and development needs of the Yemeni people, and the leaders condemned all terrorist attacks launched by the Houthi militia on civilian targets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Yemeni interior and in the waterways and international shipping routes, and called on all countries to cooperate in combating these acts and to abide by the arms embargo stipulated in Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2624.
"16. The leaders affirmed their full support for Iraq's sovereignty, security, stability, development and prosperity, and for its efforts in combating terrorism. They also stressed the need to intensify efforts to reach a political solution to the Syrian crisis that preserves Syria's unity and sovereignty in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2254, and their standing with the Lebanese people and their continued support for Lebanon's sovereignty. security and stability, and for the Lebanese Armed Forces to protect its borders and resist the threats of extremist and terrorist groups. They also affirmed their support for efforts seeking to resolve the Libyan crisis in accordance with Security Council resolutions, encouraging all Libyan parties to hold elections, unify state institutions, under the supervision of the United Nations, and the exit of all foreign fighters and mercenaries.
"17. The leaders stressed the importance of strengthening security and stability in Afghanistan, intensifying efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, and calling on the de facto authority in Afghanistan to implement its obligations to guarantee the basic rights, interests and freedoms of all Afghan people, to form an inclusive government, and to ensure that Afghan lands are not used by any terrorist groups, or the exploitation of Afghan territory to export narcotics.
"18. The leaders affirmed their positions in support of all international efforts aimed at finding a political solution to end the crisis in Ukraine, in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, in order to achieve protection of lives and property, and to preserve regional and international security and stability.
"Issued in Riyadh on December 9, 2022."[i]
Closing Statement Of The Arab-China Summit Emphasizes "The Firm Commitment Of The Arab Countries To The Principle Of One China"
"Riyadh Declaration - The First Arab-China Summit
"At the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the leaders of the Arab member states of the Arab League and the People’s Republic of China held the first Arab-China Summit, on 9/12/2022, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the aim of developing relations between the two sides in various fields.
"And to strengthen the bonds of joint cooperation, upgrade the strategic partnership relations between the Arab and Chinese sides, value the historical ties between our peoples, and the rich interactions between our two ancient civilizations, and the strong friendship between our countries, and recalling the founding documents of the Arab-China Cooperation Forum, since its establishment in Cairo, in 2004, which has added a distinctive feature it made it a success story in multilateral international cooperation, and the joint declaration on the establishment of strategic cooperation relations between the Arab countries and the People's Republic of China within the framework of the forum that was launched in 2010, in Tianjin, and the ten-year development plan of the Arab-China Cooperation Forum for the period from 2014 - 2024, that was signed in 2014, and the Beijing Declaration and the Arab-China Executive Declaration on the 'Belt and Road' initiative, which were signed in 2018, and based on the common desire to upgrade the Arab-Chinese strategic partnership relations to broader horizons, and to push the existing cooperation between us towards a higher level of progress, in a way that serves our common interests, and enhances our development efforts to deal with the challenges of the new era, and contributes to achieving our common aspirations, and ensuring the future of the emerging generations, and out of our belief that stability and prosperity are inseparable, there is no true peace without sustainable development, and there is no development and prosperity without security, peace and stability.
"After the high-level consultations that we held regarding cooperation between our two sides, and taking into account the recent developments on various regional and international issues, we have agreed on the following:
"1- Confirming our common keenness to strengthen the strategic partnership between the Arab countries and the People's Republic of China based on comprehensive cooperation and common development for a better future, as a model for friendly relations and friendly cooperation, and work to deepen Arab-Chinese cooperation in various fields through existing mechanisms within the framework of the Arab-China Cooperation Forum, enhancing the role of this forum in advancing development efforts and relations between our countries towards broader horizons.
"2- Reaffirming our countries' firm commitment to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, including the principles of mutual respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and territorial integrity of states, refraining from using or threatening to use force in international relations, respecting the principle of good neighborliness, and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.
"3- Working to preserve the international order based on international law, multilateral action, promoting the principles of cooperation, solidarity, justice and fairness in international relations, preserving the interests of developing countries and defending their rights.
"4- Emphasizing that the Palestinian cause remains a central issue in the Middle East, which requires finding a just and lasting solution to it on the basis of the two-state solution, through ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Al-Quds as its capital, in accordance with the UN relevant resolutions, in this context, emphasizing the illegality of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian and Arab territories, the invalidity of Israel's unilateral practices aimed at changing the status quo in Al-Quds, emphasizing the need to preserve the historical and legal status of occupied East Al-Quds, and the importance of the role of the historical Hashemite tutelage the Islamic and Christian sanctities in Al-Quds in protecting the sanctities and its Arab identity, stressing also the importance of the role of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and the need to support it to enable it to fulfill its UN mandate, and the need to implement international legitimacy resolutions related to refugees and the protection of Palestinian civilians, and the call for convening an international peace conference with broader participation, more credibility, greater influence, and appreciation of four points put forward by President Xi Jinping of the people's Republic of China to solve the Palestinian cause, and a series of initiatives and visions put forward by the Chinese side on the Palestinian cause, and the appreciation of the people's Republic of China's standing on the side of truth and justice in the Palestinian cause, and its unremitting efforts to advance the peace process, and its support for the Palestinian side to improve people's livelihood, economic development, humanitarian aid provided to the Palestinian side, and work for the state of Palestine to obtain full membership in the United Nations.
"5- Considering and appreciating the Chinese endeavors to contribute to the spread of international peace and development, including the high-level dialogue for global development through the two initiatives of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which are the global security and global development initiatives, which call on the international community to pay attention to development files and re-advance issues of development in the world. In addition to emphasizing the importance of adhering to the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, the two sides are keen to push together cooperation in priority areas within the framework of the Global Development Initiative, and to contribute to accelerating the implementation of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030.
"6- Agreeing to work with all efforts to build the Arab-Chinese community for a common future towards the new era, to strengthen solidarity and cooperation between the Arab countries and the People's Republic of China, to support the achievement of the nation's renaissance for each of them, to promote peace and development in the region, to preserve international justice and fairness, and to contribute to the establishment of a society common future for mankind.
"7- Confirming the determination to continue political consultation and exchange of support between the two sides on issues related to their core interests and major concerns, and to enhance solidarity between them in various international forums on global issues of common concern.
"8- Emphasizing the firm commitment of the Arab countries to the principle of one China, their support for the People's Republic of China's efforts to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity, reaffirming that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory, rejecting Taiwan's 'independence' in all its forms, and supporting the Chinese position in the Hong Kong file and supporting the People's Republic of China's efforts to maintain national security and develop and perfect democracy in Hong Kong within the framework of one country, two systems. And appreciating the important efforts made to care for minorities on both the Arab and Chinese sides.
"9- Enhancing exchanges between the People's Republic of China and the Arab countries in various dimensions and levels, and concerting efforts to face common development challenges.
"10- Emphasizing the importance of concerted regional and international efforts to find political solutions to regional crises and issues in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and relevant agreements and references, especially the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, and emphasizing the need to preserve the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of these countries, while emphasizing the rejection of interference in foreign affairs in these countries, and the need for joint action to confront terrorist and extremist organizations that operate on their lands, and support the efforts made by Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan to achieve security, stability, development, prosperity, and combat terrorism, and support the efforts of the United Nations and the League of Arab States in this regard. The Chinese side affirmed its support for the Arab countries to solve security issues in the region through solidarity and cooperation, and its support for the Arab peoples to explore their own development paths with their independent will. The Arab side appreciated the efforts made by Chinese diplomacy to support Arab issues to find peaceful solutions to crises in the region, in a way that enhances peace and security at the regional and international levels.
"11- Supporting efforts to find a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis and restoring peace and security in accordance with international law, the principles of the United Nations Charter, the principles of good neighborliness, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, in a way that guarantees the fundamental interests of all parties.
"12- Respecting the choice of countries for their development visions by their independent will, and emphasizing the importance of joint cooperation to achieve sustainable development, reduce and eliminate poverty, participate in the implementation of the 'Belt and Road' initiative, and the promising opportunities it provides for cooperation and development, and work to harmonize this initiative with the development visions of the Arab countries in a way that achieves common interest and mutual benefit.
"13- Enshrining the common values of humanity represented in peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, and respecting the right of the peoples of the world to choose ways to develop democracy and social and political systems that are commensurate with their national conditions with their independent will, and refusing to interfere in the internal affairs of states under the pretext of preserving democracy.
"14- Emphasizing the importance of international cooperation in the field of human rights being based on equality and mutual respect, and rejecting the politicization of human rights issues and using them as a tool to put pressure on states and interfere in their internal affairs.
"15- Enhancing international efforts within the framework of the United Nations to combat climate change, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement within its framework, and supporting initiatives aimed at achieving green development, including Saudi Arabia's Green Middle East initiative and China's Green Silk Road initiative.
"16- Emphasizing the importance of the international community avoiding excluding major energy sources or neglecting investment in them, which leads to challenges in energy markets and an unequal impact, especially on developing societies and countries, with the need to adopt a 'balanced approach' policy to promote global economic growth, which is closely linked to energy security and availability by taking advantage of various energy sources, and applying circular carbon economy solutions to reach zero neutrality and build sustainable communities.
"17- Praising the assistance provided by the People's Republic of China to some Arab countries, and to the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, in terms of assistance to combat the Corona pandemic (Covid 19), including vaccines and medical supplies, and stressing concerted efforts and cooperation for economic recovery in the post-pandemic stage.
"18- Taking note of the 'Cooperation Initiative between the League of Arab States and the People's Republic of China on data security' jointly issued by the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States and the Chinese side, and keen to seize this opportunity to continue deepening cooperation and pushing together for global cyberspace governance.
"19- Supporting efforts aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, in accordance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international system for non-proliferation, and stressing the importance of freeing the Middle East from weapons of mass destruction.
"20- Strengthening efforts to combat terrorism, condemning terrorism in all its forms, images and motives, and the need to combat it and not link it to any race, religion, nationality or civilization, uprooting its roots and drying up its sources, in addition to rejecting 'double standards' in combating terrorism.
"21- Promoting dialogue among civilizations and respecting different cultures, rejecting claims of hatred, extremism and clash of civilizations between followers of religions and cultures, emphasizing opposition to Islamophobia in all its forms, and emphasizing that the Arab and Chinese civilizations have made unique contributions to the progress of human civilization and are keen to continue calling for dialogue and communication between civilizations, preserving global cultural diversity, rejecting discrimination and prejudice against a particular civilization, and rejecting the theory of the clash of civilizations.
"22- Emphasizing the importance of consolidating Arab-Chinese friendship at the popular level in various cultural, sports, tourism and media fields.
"23- Assigning our ministries and institutions to work on putting the directives of this summit into practice, through the executive programs of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum and the various other mechanisms of the forum, emphasizing the importance of continuing cooperation in the next stage in various political, economic, social and development fields, including the fields of economy, trade, investment, industry, transportation, energy, environmental protection, agriculture, food security, tourism, human resources development, intellectual property, culture, dialogue of civilizations, education, scientific research and science, technology, media, health and sustainable development, sports and others.
"24- Expressing sincere thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and to His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s hosting of this historic summit and the Chinese side’s welcome to hold the next Arab-Chinese summit in the People's Republic of China, with a date to be determined in consultation between the two sides."