China, Kuwait cement ties on 50th anniversary

March 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Kuwait and the People's Republic of China.

March 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the State of Kuwait and the People's Republic of China.

Actually, the Kuwait-China friendly relationship started before the official establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. It can date back to Feb 13, 1965, when the late Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who was then Minister of Finance, Industry and Commerce, visited China and met with the Chinese president and other Chinese leaders. This visit was a prelude to the Kuwait-China friendship.

Kuwait was the first Gulf Cooperation Council Arab country that established diplomatic ties with China. Since March 22, 1971, when the two countries established diplomatic relations, they have enjoyed deepening traditional friendship and smooth development of friendly and cooperative relations, as well as fruitful results achieved in various fields, including politics, economy, trade, energy, finance and culture. Bilateral cooperation has been continuously expanded and enriched with broad prospects for cooperation, which has practically enhanced the development and construction process of the two countries, and has made the longing for prosperity and peace into reality.

These achievements are based on solid, stable and extraordinary bilateral relations. Kuwait-China relations are based on mutual respect for sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, peaceful coexistence, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, mutual benefit and other high-level international rules and practice.

Last year, we experienced an unprecedented pandemic outbreak globally. Both sides have stood side by side and helped each other. Kuwait donated 21 million yuan in medical supplies to Wuhan city in China at the critical moment to fight against COVID-19. China has made great efforts and assistance in facilitating the purchase of medical supplies in China and shipping them back to Kuwait, organizing medical expert video conferences and dispatching a team of medical experts to support Kuwait in fighting the pandemic. Despite the impact of the pandemic, China has remained Kuwait's first and largest trade partner for the past three years. Kuwait has provided preferential official loans valued at hundreds of millions of US dollars to China through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to support China in many infrastructure projects. The two sides also have steadily promoted people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation.

This year 2021 is a significant year. It marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, with whom we have long historical relations. It also marks the 60th anniversary of National Day and the 30th anniversary of the Liberation of the State of Kuwait.

The leadership in both countries has always realized the great importance of developing bilateral relations in every sector on the basis of mutual benefit and mutual respect. Over the past 50 years, many high level visits have been exchanged between the two countries. Among them, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, late amir of the State of Kuwait, paid a successful state visit to China in July 2018 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which the two sides announced the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries and reached important consensus on China's participation in the construction of Kuwait's "Silk City and Five Islands" project. More than 70 agreements were signed between our two countries.

Recently, a high-ranking Chinese delegation headed by Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, visited Kuwait on Feb 23 and delivered a message from President Xi to the political leadership of Kuwait regarding bilateral ties. The visit is a vital addition to Chinese diplomacy to join hands with Kuwaiti diplomacy in strengthening and consolidating strategic ties between both countries in all fields. It also is one of the ongoing visits of consultation and coordination between both countries' officials, which will further enhance the distinguished relations and achieve many results due to good planning in advance.

Over the past 50 years, the friendship and cooperation between Kuwait and China, on the basis of mutual respect, justice and mutual learning, have been strengthened. Kuwait firmly supports all the undertakings of China and the one-China policy. At the same time, China firmly supports the integrity of sovereignty and national independence of Kuwait, too. Kuwait and China have treated each other equally, supported each other and established a strategic partnership. Kuwait was the first country in the region to sign the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation agreement with China. Kuwait's 2035 National Vision is in line with China's Belt and Road Initiative and the development goals of Kuwait and China are highly aligned, laying a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation. Kuwait is always ready as ever to work with China to implement the important consensus reached by the heads of state of both countries, frame and strengthen the complementarities of our development strategies, expand cooperation in various fields and push bilateral relations to a new level.

As the ambassador of Kuwait to China, I am proud to witness the great bilateral relations we have achieved in various sectors over the past 50 years in general and especially for the last four years. We have right now four diplomatic missions representing the State of Kuwait in China, namely the embassy in Beijing and the consulate-generals in Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Shanghai. This is the largest representation of the State of Kuwait abroad in one country. Besides, we have Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (Far East) Beijing representative office, Kuwait Investment Authority office in Shanghai and Kuwait News Agency office in Beijing. In the private sector, we have set up the National Bank of Kuwait Shanghai branch. I think there is still a huge potential for both countries to have closer and stronger cooperation. The Joint Communiqué between both countries issued in July 2018 on strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership underscores that this will open opportunities and prospects, as well as new areas of cooperation between Kuwait and China in the next stage that will benefit the interests of their governments and peoples.

On this occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Chinese high-level officials for their kind efforts to make the bilateral dialogue and communications between Kuwait and China much smoother and easier.

The author is ambassador of Kuwait to China. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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