Window opens for Arab world in China’s new era

By Toumert AI Source:Global Times Published: 2017/12/24 5:03:39

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT


China is embracing a new era in its engagement with the world to protect international trade and support global interaction based on a win-win strategy, respect and equal opportunities to all world state actors. The Arab world thus has a window of opportunity to seize on the momentum China is offering.

"China will continue to play its part as a major and responsible country, take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system, and keep contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance," read the report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which heralded a new era for the Chinese economy.

In the most recent example that the country has emerged as a responsible global power, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a regular press conference on Wednesday that "we call upon the international community to stay united, jointly stay committed to cooling down the situation in Jerusalem and upholding the peace and tranquility of the Middle East region and the overall picture of the Middle East peace process," speaking of China's support for the Middle East peace process.

Her remarks were made in response to concerns over a rare emergency session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday to vote on a draft resolution rescinding the controversial decision of US President Donald Trump's administration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a move that sparked outrage in the Arab world. The UN General Assembly voted by 128 to nine on Thursday to declare Trump's Jerusalem decision "null and void."

Arab states, from the Kingdom of Morocco to Iraq, are emerging from a troubled era during which their institutions and economies were on the brink of collapse.

That era started with the "Arab Spring," which failed to bring about any notable socio-economic changes or improvements, and extended to the rise of ISIS, which managed to destroy not only lives and generations to come but also put at risk the existence of state actors.

Today the Arab world is celebrating with some caution the return of hope for a better tomorrow. This is the moment where Arab governments should seize on the historic report to the 19th Party Congress.

The truth is that the Arab world needs China to bring growth to its stalled economies. Youth unemployment in these countries is about 30 percent, according to the Arab Youth Survey 2017. Also, the infrastructure in some countries has been completed destroyed.

Unlike the EU or the US, China does not link its financial support and trade cooperation to social or policy factors.

The Belt and Road (B&R) initiative is shaping the way Arab states should engage with China. Through the B&R, the Arab world can forge the missing link to its core dream: Connectivity from the greater Syria region to the Mediterranean sea.

The Arab world has dreamed of highways linking all Arab countries, unbroken train tracks running through all Arab towns, bridges linking Africa to the Middle East. All this can now happen thanks to the B&R.

China will support the construction of state-of-the-art infrastructure, and it will also provide loans through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to develop trade and the real economy. This will benefit the huge ranks of unemployed Arab youths.

Also, decision-makers can engage with Chinese technology companies such as Alibaba, and Tencent to bring their goods and services to the Chinese market and profit from the unlimited economic opportunities that Chinese consumers can bring.

China's new era can be a defining moment for Sino-Arab relations to jump-start a new phase in connecting and integrating the Arab dream with the Chinese Dream.

Hand-in-hand, Chinese and Arabs will define their future, build their societies and project a socialist approach to global wealth distribution and equal opportunity. That is the future, if we chose wisely to turn our attention to China.

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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