Kuwait Amir’s visit to China of immense strategic value as Kuwait seeks to strengthen ties
“We are proud of the significant role played by Chinese enterprises in the development of our country” HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
“We are friends that others can trust during hardship and crises. Chinese President Xi Jinping”
(Edited by Middle East Times Int'l)
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s official state visit to China represents a new flourishing relationship between the two countries, Kuwaiti Ambassador to China Samih Johar Hayat said. The visit will cement the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides, he added. "The Kuwaiti-Chinese ties are deep-rooted and strong and the two leaders are keen on developing and promoting them to serve interests of the two nations in all fields and on all levels," he said.
Warm Welcome for the Amir of Kuwait
Strategic partnership with China went a long way thanks to the astute vision of His Highness the Amir, which clearly manifested in joint mega projects, he noted. The three-day visit, led by HH Sheikh Sabah, was the highest-level Kuwaiti delegation since the first visit by the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in 1965. The trip includes the signing of agreements and memoranda of understanding that will be added to the 50 ones inked over the last 50 years, he indicated. The visit was HH the Amir’s second since he came to power; the first one was in 2009.
HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah’s visit was of extreme strategic value, said Kuwaiti Minister of Finance Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf.
He said that the event would hopefully further bolster relations between the two sides.
The official rounds of talks between His Highness and Chinese President Xi Jinping touched on various political and economic issues, said Al-Hajraf who indicated that the Kuwaitis informed their Chinese counterparts of their plans for the development of Al-Harir city and islands.
Warm Welcome for the Amir of Kuwait
China is welcome to invest in Kuwait, affirmed Al-Hajraf, adding that his country was keen on exploring business opportunities.
"The Chinese side have showcased great interest integrated economic cooperation with Kuwait." Earlier on, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah and President Xi presided over the official rounds of talks between China and Kuwait at the Great Hall of the People in the capital Beijing.
Two Kuwaiti ministers have lauded HH Sheikh Sabah’s visit as "successful by all standards." Minister of Social Affairs, Labor and Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh said that Kuwait and China have prestigious, deep-rooted and continued relations.
She stressed that this visit would contribute to promoting, strengthening and cementing the ties between Kuwait and China. Al-Sabeeh stated that the directives of both the Amir and President Xi call for implementing deals as soon as possible.
HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah held extensive talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, focusing on bilateral ties.
The Kuwaiti and Chinese leaders spoke highly of the tremendous progress in relations between the Gulf state and the world's most populous nation, seeing eye-to-eye on myriad issues.
Citing a mutual desire to take ties to new levels, the Amir and President XI pinpointed fields that they have agreed to co-operate on, chiefly, the need to establish a platform for dialogue as a constant form of engagement.
BEIJING SUPPORTS AMIR'S EFFORTS FOR GULF DISPUTE
Meanwhile, Beijing has thrown its weight behind His Highness the Amir's efforts to quell a Gulf dispute, in addition to other humanitarian initiatives Kuwait has been known to pursue, by virtue of the "Humanitarian Leader" name the UN bestowed upon His Highness the Amir.
The two countries also emphasised their commitment to one another's sovereignty through a non-interventionist and non-meddling policy.
The two leaders pointed out that peace and stability in their countries is partially contingent upon a free and open Indo-Pacific, as well as ensuring peaceful resolutions to conflicts in the region.
Kuwait also said that it is a proponent of the Chinese government's "Belt and Road Initiative", in addition to other similar development strategies that allow Beijing to reach out to the rest of the world.
They revealed that a joint economic and trade committee has been set up to boost bilateral trade and investment. With that in mind, China has commended Kuwait's active participation in Beijing's International Import Expo; both nations agreed that co-operation in the financial sector was key to boosting bilateral trade and investment.
RECEPTION FOR A CLOSE FRIEND
The reception ceremony for the official state visit of HH the Amir of Kuwait and his delegation to China began at Great Hall of the People in Beijing in the presence of President Xi and senior officials. After the ceremony, His Highness the Amir and President Xi presided over official talks focused on historic ties and ways of developing the partnership on all possible domains, especially economic.
The talks, highlighted by a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, also touched on coordinating efforts within the regional and international spheres, as well as issues of common interest.
His Highness the Amir extended an official invitation to President Xi to visit the country.
President Xi later held a dinner banquet at the Great Hall of The People in honour of HH the Amir and his accompanying delegation. HH the Amir also addressed the opening session of the eighth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Co-operation Forum in Beijing.
Members of the Kuwaiti delegation
President Xi said HH Sheikh Sabah was a "close friend" of the Chinese people.
President Jinping noted that HH the Amir had visited China seven times in a speech during summit talks. "His Highness the Amir is the most Gulf leader to visit China," he added.
President Xi thanked Kuwait for its contributions to development in China, noting that Xiamen airport was built through Kuwaiti loans. He said China stood firm behind Kuwait during Iraq's invasion in 1990.
"We are friends that others can trust during hardship and crises," he said, and cited His Highness the Amir's two visits to China when he was a foreign minister during the Kuwaiti liberation war.
"Your Highness, you visited China twice. China remained steadfast in supporting endeavours by the Kuwaiti side in defending its sovereignty and national independence," he said. He said Kuwait was the first Gulf country to establish diplomatic relations with China and the first to offer loans.
Kuwait has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Huawei to implement the smart cities strategy in the country, Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority CEO Salem Al-Othaina said.
He said memorandum was divided into four sections connected with the development of intelligent infrastructure networks, security, virtual systems and the digital transformation of industries and central management in Kuwait.
Al-Othaina explained that the memorandum had touched on the implementation of smart cities in Kuwait, including the Silk (Al-Harir) City and Kuwaiti islands projects.
He added that both sides discussed the Mubarak seaport proposed for Bubyan Island, northeast of Kuwait, was an initial starting point for smart cities projects, noting that the MoU will include a joint strategy.
The MoU also aimed to exchange expertise, technological innovation, general design and consultancy to transform Mubarak seaport project into an intelligent facility. The cost of this consultation and design will be on Huawei, Al-Othaina said.
In the presence of HH the Amir of Kuwait and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kuwait and China signed several agreements and Memorandum of Understandings to boost ties.
Kuwait (represented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah) and China (represented by Foreign Minister Wang Yi) signed a co-operation mechanism between the governments.
Warm welcome for the Amir of Kuwait
A co-operation protocol to boost defensive industry co-operation was signed by Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled and executive at the Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense Zhang Youxia.
A bilateral co-operation agreement was signed between Kuwait's Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State of Economic Affairs Hind Al-Sabeeh as well as Vice Chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Zhang Yong.
A MoU to encourage investment was signed by Director General of Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) Sheikh Mishal Al-Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Jiang Zengwei.
A co-operation agreement was signed between Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure). KPC's CEO Nizar Al-Adsani and Sinosure's Wang Yi inked the deal.
Warm welcome for the Amir of Kuwait
A MoU on e-commerce signed by Minister of Commerce and Industry Khaled Al-Roudhan on the Kuwaiti side aims to boost co-operation in facilitating trade between the countries and achieve sustainable development. It will also provide opportunities to develop small and medium-sized enterprises in different fields including tourism and leisure.
His Highness Amir Sheikh Sabah said China could help set up industrial and high-tech parks in northern Kuwait, part of Gulf state's strategic plans to diversify economy and be a global trade and financial hub.
The Chinese contribution will help achieve Kuwait government's 2035 national development strategy.
HH the Amir said the strategic development plan would achieve a strategic transformation into a diversified economy, as well as being an international trade and financial center capable of attracting multi-faceted investments.
His Highness hoped China would help establish industrial and high-tech parks in northern Kuwait.
"We encourage Chinese business and financial institutions to operate here," said His Highness the Amir.
Commenting on China's Belt and Silk Road Initiative, the Amir said Kuwait was among the first countries to sign a co-operation agreement with Beijing under the initiative.
The initiative, consisting of Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, is designed to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
His Highness the Amir said the 2013 initiative was compatible with Kuwait strategic development plans, and would help his country, which in 2015 announced a plan to develop its islands, achieve its development goals.
China is Kuwait's largest source of imports, as trade volume reached a record USD 12.04 billion in 2017, according to Xinhua, while Kuwait is China's fourth largest crude oil supplier in the Arab world.
There are currently more than 40 Chinese companies operating in Kuwait with about 80 projects in progress in oil, infrastructure, communications and banking.
"I wish to emphasize that we are proud of the significant role which is played by Chinese enterprises in the development of our country," His Highness the Amir said.
"Chinese companies are highly professional, and we are very happy to co-operate with them," towards more large-scale development projects in Kuwait, which was the first country to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, His Highness noted.
He went on to say the development of partnership and bilateral cooperation with China on the basis of mutual benefit contributed to better well-being of Kuwaiti and Chinese people as well as common progress.