Morocco eager to build stronger ties with China

By Toumert Al Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/20 22:53:39

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping established the vision of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, many other countries have been working out how to be part of the new initiative.

China and Morocco have shared for hundreds of years a steady exchange of trade and relations through the Maritime Silk Road. This started when the legendary traveler Ibn Battuta arrived on the shores of China in the year of 1345.

From that time on, Morocco has embraced China. Thanks to Ibn Battuta, tea is now our national drink, and nearly every household in Morocco has decorative items such as porcelain plates and vases produced in China.

Chinese products have not only found their way to Moroccans for hundreds of years. Morocco has also been a stepping point on the old Maritime Silk Road, with goods transiting through Morocco on their journey to West Africa and North Europe.

Today, many aspects of our lives have changed since that first encounter over 600 years ago. However, the exchanges have not stopped. On the contrary, if you pay a visit to Morocco, you will find that we are using Chinese goods more than ever, not only for domestic purposes - we also want to integrate Chinese technology, medical science and knowhow into our daily lives.

From bridges, highways, airports, telecommunications, railway projects, industrial zone development and transportation, we as Moroccans appreciate Chinese innovation and the support we are receiving for the development of our country.

Furthermore we have always looked positively to the model of governance of China, and have always tried to learn from our Chinese friends. The importance that Morocco holds for China was seen last year during the visit by King Mohammed VI of Morocco to China, during which he had a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and agreed to put the relationship between both countries on a strategic path. Since then King Mohammed VI has referred to the new strategic partnership many times in his speeches, and talked about how China can play a role in the development of our country.

Morocco is an emerging economy and is in the process of development, so we understand the importance of working with China hand in hand.

We experienced the benefits of the old Maritime Silk Road, and as a country looking ahead for a better future, we understand very well that being part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is a necessity.

It is my own belief that Morocco can play a positive role within China's One Belt and One Road (B&R) initiative. In a complex global scene, Morocco offers the political stability and the logistical and financial platforms that are needed to engage with the African continent, the European market and even to a certain extent the American continent.

We trust the B&R initiative because it comes from a sincere desire to create a better medium for countries to engage positively with each other. The initiative offers a platform that creates wealth for all participants, where all countries share their resources and exchange their output, but also see themselves as equals and being part of a shared destiny.

China will always find in Morocco the right partner, with the right attitude to do great things and share a vision of a bright future.

The author is director of Education, International Bachelor Program at the International School under China Foreign Affairs University.

Posted in: INSIDER'S EYE

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