Xi Jinping announces visit of Arab leaders to 10th China-Arab Forum Ministerial Conference

The King of Bahrain, the President of Egypt, the President of Tunisia and the President of the United Arab Emirates will participate in the opening in Beijing
El presidente chino, Xi Jinping, y el presidente egipcio, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, pasan revista a la guardia de honor durante una ceremonia de bienvenida en el Gran Salón del Pueblo de Pekín, el 29 de mayo de 2024 - PHOTO/TINGSHU WANG / POOL / AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi review the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 29, 2024. Several Arab leaders visit Beijing this week as it seeks to present a ‘common voice’ on the Israel-Hamas conflict and enhance cooperation - PHOTO/TINGSHU WANG / POOL / AFP
  1. 20 years of cooperation: a snapshot of the China-Arab Forum Ministerial Conference
  2. China and the Arab world: a growing partnership

The 10th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab Forum on Cooperation will be held in Beijing with the participation of Arab and Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping. The meeting aims to strengthen cooperation between China and Arab countries in areas such as trade, technology and culture. 

Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Tunisia's President Kais Saied and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will travel at the invitation of their counterpart Xi Jinping and will be the key players at the conference.

Xi Jinping is expected to deliver the keynote address at an event in the capital on the 30th, according to an announcement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, and Mohamed Salem Ould Merzouk, a Mauritanian, will co-chair the conference. 

PHOTO/REUTERS - El presidente chino Xi Jinping asiste a la Cumbre del Foro de Cooperación China-África -Mesa Redonda en el Gran Salón del Pueblo de Beijing el 4 de septiembre de 2018 en Beijing, China
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit-Roundtable at the Beijing Great Hall of the People on September 4, 2018 in Beijing, China - PHOTO/REUTERS

In the middle of this month, the Chinese head of state sent a congratulatory letter to the current chairman of the Council of the League of Arab States (Arab League) and the King of Bahrain on the occasion of the convening of the organisation's 33rd summit. Xi emphasised that the Arab League has long been committed to promoting solidarity and self-strengthening in the region, as well as promoting peace, stability and development in the Middle East. 

He noted that in recent years and in the face of changes in the world, Arab countries have steadfastly maintained their independence, advocated development, protected equality and justice, and safeguarded peace and stability in the region, playing an increasingly important role in strengthening and cooperating among countries in the Global South.

20 years of cooperation: a snapshot of the China-Arab Forum Ministerial Conference

In 2004, the Forum was established with the aim of strengthening cooperation between China and Arab countries. Two decades later, the Conference has achieved significant progress in economic, political and cultural cooperation between the countries involved. 

In the years since, numerous agreements and memoranda of understanding have been signed between China and Arab countries, leading to significant growth in trade and investment between the parties. Cooperation in areas such as renewable energy, information technology and education have also been successful. 

El rey de Bahréin, Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa (centro), posando con líderes árabes en Manama el 16 de mayo de 2024, antes de la 33ª Cumbre de la Liga Árabe - BNA (Agencia de Noticias de Bahrein) / AFP
Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa (centre) poses with Arab leaders in Manama on May 16, 2024, ahead of the 33rd Arab League Summit - BNA (Agencia de Noticias de Bahrein) / AFP

Security cooperation has also been an important area for the Forum. China and Arab countries have worked together to combat terrorism and crime, and have established security cooperation programmes to protect regional stability. 

Recent years have seen increased cooperation in areas such as health, education and culture in the wake of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis, which shook governments around the world, has been the trigger for the importance of international cooperation in areas such as health and security. 

El Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de China, Wang Yi, asiste a una reunión con ministros de Relaciones Exteriores de naciones árabes y de mayoría musulmana en la Casa de Huéspedes Estatal Diaoyutai en Beijing el 20 de noviembre de 2023
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a meeting with foreign ministers from Arab and Muslim-majority nations at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on November 20, 2023 - AFP/PEDRO PARDO

China and the Arab world: a growing partnership

China's standing and contacts in the Arab world have grown significantly over the past five years. China's position vis-à-vis US policies has been one of the main links between the Arab world and China. 

The high Arab participation in the tenth China-Arab Forum demonstrates the increase in collaboration between China and Arab countries in recent years, as 12 Arab nations now have comprehensive strategic partnership relations with China. Chinese investment in Arab nations is around 250 billion dollars and Chinese trade with Arab countries is almost 500 billion dollars. 

El presidente chino Xi Jinping y al príncipe heredero de Arabia Saudí, Mohamed bin Salman - PHOTO/AP
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - PHOTO/AP

At the first summit between the two sides in December 2022, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, met with Arab leaders. There, the plan for the development of bilateral relations was drafted, and it was determined to cooperate in the creation of a community with a shared destiny: to increase influence on global decision-making. 

Cooperation between China and Arab countries can have a significant impact on security and help end conflicts such as the war in Ukraine and Gaza. Within three months, China and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) signed agreements to cooperate on building infrastructure and promoting economic development, and to cooperate on counter-terrorism and international security.