Thursday, January 28, 2016

Xi Jinping’s Middle East Policy: Iran

Chinese President Xi Jinping completed his recent tour of the Middle East which took place between

Osman Takçı

JTW News, Jan. 19 and 23

Chinese President Xi Jinping completed his recent tour of the Middle East which took place between Jan. 19 and 23. The multidimensional trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran was Xi’s first overseas visit of 2016 and his first ever visit to the Middle East since taking office in 2013.
President Xi stated the aim of the tour in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, declaring that he sought to elevate China to a partner for peace, stability and development in the region. Moreover, Xi laid out a vision of reinforced ties between the Arab League and China. Xinhua News Agency quoted An Huihou, former Chinese ambassador to Egypt, as saying “non-interference with the domestic affairs of other countries and peaceful resolution of disputes have been cornerstones of China's foreign policy for decades. China never pursues its own selfish benefit.”
The last destination of Xi’s visit was Iran, whereupon he became the first foreign leader to visit the country after the lifting of international sanctions. Before landing however, he had already set the tone of his visit, writing an open letter to the Iranian people via Xinhua News Agency stressing that “China has been Iran’s biggest trading partner for six years.”
Especially after the imposition of sanctions by Western countries China expanded its economic engagement with Iran, particularly in strategic economic domains such as in the energy, construction and defense industries. Such developments resulted in the emergence of positive sentiments in Iran as illustrated in Head of the Iran-China Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi’s statement that “after the [Iranian] Revolution we exchanged the Western frowns with the smiles from the East and now they continue to smile at us.” In this vein, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Xi Jinping on Saturday that “Iranians had never trusted the West”, stressing that independent countries (such as China) would be Iran’s friends in the future


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Chinese Emperor’s Poem about the Prophet Muhammad (saw)

By Abu 'Aaminah

Al-Siraat - 18  Jan 2013

Hong-Wu (also known by his given name Zhū Yuánzhāng) was the Emperor of China between 1368 – 1398 CE. He was the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, leading an Army that conquered the country and defeated away the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty.
Despite being a non-Muslim, Hong-Wu ordered the construction of several mosques in Nanjing, Yunnan, Guangdong and Fujian. He rebuilt the Jinjue Mosque in Nanjing and large numbers of Hui (Muslim Chinese) people moved to the city during his rule.
He had around 10 Muslim generals in his army, including Chang Yuchun, Lan Yu, Ding Dexing, Mu Ying, Feng Sheng and Hu Dahai. In addition, Hong-Wu’s spouse, Empress Ma, descended from a Muslim family while he was originally a member of a Muslim rebel group led by Guo Zhixin.
Emperor Hong-Wu wrote a 100 word eulogy praising Islam, Allah and the Prophet Muhammad which he had placed in the mosques which he ordered to be built.
The eulogy is in the form of a poem, each verse containing 4 words (characters) and 4 syllables. In the translation below I have strayed away from trying to keep the 4 word per verse translation in favour of a more literal translation which conveys the full meaning in flowing English.
The One-Hundred Word Eulogy:
Since the creation of the Universe,
God had decreed to appoint,
This great faith-preaching man,
From the West he was born,
He received the Holy Scripture,
A Book of thirty parts,
To guide all creation,
Master of all Rulers,
Leader of Holy Ones,
With Support from Above,
To Protect His Nation,
With five daily prayers,
Silently hoping for peace,
His heart towards Allah,
Empowering the poor,
Saving them from calamity,
Seeing through the darkness,
Pulling souls and spirits,
Away from all wrongdoings,
A Mercy to the Worlds,
Traversing the ancient majestic path,
Vanquishing away all evil,
His Religion Pure and True,
The Noble & Great one.

Written by Sh. Musa Cerantonio

Monday, January 25, 2016

Cartoon Commentary President Xi's Middle East visit ④: Guiding China and Arab revival

(CNTV) - January 24, 2016

On January 21, accompanied by the Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabya and Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismai, President Xi Jinping had delivered a keynote address at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo entitled, "Work together for a bright future of China-Arab relations."
Xi promoted pragmatic cooperation in the four-point initiative, outlining a new blueprint for China-Arab cooperation, which received a warm response from the Middle East media.
His speech focused on the Arab world and explained Beijing's diplomatic policy on the region that depicted a beautiful portrayal of China-Arab cooperation.
The four-point initiative conveys far-reaching significance and demonstrates China will be a firm builder of peace and development in the Middle East. Beijing would boost regional industrialization, support regional stability and be a good envoy of communications between the Chinese and Arab peoples.
Xi's Speech demonstrated Chinese wisdom, reflecting the style of a large country and highlighting China's responsibility to guide the revival of the Chinese and Egyptian peoples.
The constant applause in the Arab League headquarters had proven how Xi's speech would mark an impressive chapter in the history of China-Arab relations.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Arab nations want to lure more Chinese visitors to help revive tourism sector battered by terror attacks

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Sunday, 24 January, 2016,

Arab nations are looking to Chinese visitors to revive their tourism sectors, battered by security fears, and also need to develop homegrown tourism as a lifeline, ministers from the region say.
Bookings to nations in North Africa and the Middle East, which had been recovering after the Arab spring unrest, fell last year following deadly attacks claimed by Islamic extremists in Tunisia and Egypt that caused foreigners to shun beaches and historic sites across the region.
But visitor numbers from China to Egypt soared last year despite a series of security blows to the country’s key tourism sector in 2015 because the government began to allow charter flights from the Asian country, Egyptian Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said.
The number of Chinese visitors to Egypt more than doubled from 60,000 in 2014 to 135,000 in 2015, “in a year in which we suffered a lot”, he said at a conference on tourism policies in Arab nations at the Madrid international tourism fair Fitur, which wraps up Sunday.
In September eight Mexican tourists were mistakenly killed by Egyptian security forces in the vast Western Desert.


Spotlight: Xi's fruitful Middle East tour highlights China's commitment to building new type of int'l relations

Xinhua | 2016-01-24

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping returned home Sunday after wrapping up a historic trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran with a broad consensus and 52 cooperation agreements set to deepen Beijing's constructive engagement with the struggling yet promising region.  The fruitful five-day Middle East tour, which filled up Xi's global footprint, has once again testified to the Asian giant's commitment to promoting peace and development around the world and building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation.
The visit, summarized Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday, was a successful stroke of diplomacy that deepened China's traditional friendship and practical cooperation with the three countries and the region as a whole, and contributed to regional reconciliation, peace and development.  During Xi's trip, China upgraded its relationship with both Saudi Arabia and Iran to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and vowed to work together with Egypt to add more values to their comprehensive strategic partnership.  Regional organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and the Arab League (AL), also applauded Xi's visit and voiced their readiness to cement mutual trust and broaden win-win cooperation with China.  AL Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said China has always stood with the developing world, adding that the Arab world is willing to work closely with China in political, economic as well as other sectors for mutual benefit.


Dragon & Phoenix: Khamenei Lauds New Sino-Iranian ‘Strategic Partnership’

By Juan Cole | Jan. 24, 2016 

Iran’s clerical leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke Saturday on the occasion of the state visit to Iran of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said,
“The government and people of Iran have always looked and are still looking for expanding relations with independent and trustworthy countries like China and on this basis, the agreement between the presidents of Iran and China for the establishment of a 25-year strategic relation is completely correct and wise.”
“. . . The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget China’s cooperation during the time of sanctions.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran this weekend, pledging to raise bilateral trade from $50 bn. a year (mostly Chinese import of petroleum) to a diversified $600 bn. a year.
Referring to the US influence over countries like Saudi Arabia, Khamenei told China that “Iran is the only independent country in the region that can be trusted in the area of energy because unlike many regional countries, the energy policy of Iran is not influenced by any non-Iranian factor.”
Referring to US exploitation of weaker countries, Khamenei said, “This situation has caused independent countries to pursue more cooperation with one another. The agreement between Iran and China for developing a 25-year strategic relation is within this framework. With the serious follow-up by both sides, agreements will definitely pass through the stage of implementation.”


Xi lays out policy on Middle East in address

Reporter: Wu Haojun 丨  01-23-2016

On Thursday, he gave his most important speech yet on Chinese policy on the middle east. From economics and trade to the peace process in the region.
A much-anticipated speech by the President of the world's second largest economy on his country's policy towards the Middle East, a war-ridden region which President Xi took care to mention is also a "land of abundance"
"In order to strengthen industrial production in the Middle East, China, in cooperation with Arab countries, will take several steps to join forces in production capacities," Xi said.
"These steps will focus on giving a push to the industrial and financial sectors in the Middle East worth 15 billion dollars. The money will be used in collaborative projects within the region in the fields of production and infrastructure. We will also offer trade credit worth 10 billion dollars for countries in the Middle East."
President Xi also announced plans to set up funds with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, worth a total 20 billion US dollars to invest in conventional energy.
And it wasn't just economy and trade that President Xi had on his mind, he also touched on issues from Palestine to the Syrian crisis.

Rouhani welcomes stronger ties with China  01-24-2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping has met his Iranian counterpart on Saturday in Tehran. Xi Jinping is the first leader to visit Iran since its international sanctions were lifted on January 16.
The two countries have signed a strategic cooperation agreement as a way to boost the diplomatic and economic engagement.
The first Chinese president to visit Iran in 14 years. Xi Jinping was warmly welcomed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in meeting in Sa'dabad Palace in northern Tehran.


President Xi meets Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei  01-24-2016

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping has met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The two leaders pledged to beef up practical cooperation between the two countries.
During the meeting, President Xi said China will always be a "reliable cooperative partner" of Iran. He called Iran a "natural partner" in implementing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. He told Khamenei that China will unswervingly follow a path of peaceful development and adhere to an independent foreign policy of peace.
Khamenei expressed gratitude to China for its enduring support for Iran, and said that Tehran is willing to push the bilateral practical cooperation to a new high. He said Iran stands ready to play a greater role in the Belt and Road Initiative.


Saturday, January 23, 2016




1.     Introduction
Jamsheed K. Choksy (Director of the Central and Eurasian Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington)

2.     When a Sleeping Giant Wakes - China's Expanding Ties in the Middle East. Tugrul Keskin (Maltepe University) and Christian Braun (Durham University) 

3.     Adhering to the Ways of Our Western Brothers: Tracing Saudi influences on the Development of Hui Salafism in China. Mohammed Alsudairi, Hong Kong University 

4.     Chinese Soft Power and Green Energy Investment in the Greater Middle East.        
Juan Cole (University of Michigan)

5.     China and the International Non-Proliferation Regime: The Case of Iran.
Mohiaddin Messbahi (Florida International University)  and Mohamad Homayounvash (Louisiana State University)

6.     Explaining Beijing's shift from active to passive engagement in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Guy Burton (University of Nottingham) 

7.     Turkish-Chinese Bilateral and Multilateral Security Cooperation.
Lenore G. Martin (Emmanuel College and Harvard University)

8.     China in Turkish Academic Literature: An Overview.           
Seriye Sezen (Institute for Turkey and the Middle East)

9.     The Gulf Looks East: Sino-Arab Relations in an Age of Instability. 
Geoffrey Gresh (National Defense University) 

10.  Seek Knowledge Even If Takes You to China (Via Washington): Saudi Arabia and China in the Twenty-First Century. Sean Foley (Middle Tennessee State University)

11.  The Developing Relations between Turkey and China during Since 2005, Baris Doster (Marmara University) 

Xi Jinping’s Iran visit is of ‘historic significance’: ambassador

By M.A. Saki and Ali Kushki


TEHRAN - President Xi Jinping’s Middle East trip, which along with Iran and Saudi Arabia includes a stop in General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s Egypt, comes at a historical juncture where the Middle East is in distress.  Regardless of how regional issues such as the Saudi Arabia-Iran tension, the future of Syria, and the battle against terrorism can be impacted by the trip, international experts see it a landmark in the history of Sino-Iran relations, a highlight in the remarks of China’s ambassador to Tehran Pang Sen.  The trip, a first in more than a decade, is the first presidential visit to Iran after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) entered into force. The dragon’s thirst for oil and Iran’s dire need for cutting-edge technology and external investment has made it the opportune time for the two countries to look at the future more strategically.  In the run-up to the visit, China’s ambassador to Tehran Pang appeared in a press conference on January 19 at the embassy of China in Tehran, where he fielded questions from Iranian and Chinese reporters.  A key question concerned the role of China in redesigning Arak’ heavy water reactor, in reply to which Pang said the process is a major theme of the JCPOA and China has proposed its plans for the project, which have been welcomed both by Iran and other 5+1 members.  The ambassador mentioned that prior to the negotiations, China had already dispatched two expert teams to Iran to exchange ideas with Iranians on the issue.  “As the next step we will keep close contact with other 5+1 members and coordinate the process,” Pang said, adding that China is ready to cooperate with Iran in the field of nuclear energy under international regulations, under which the two sides can collaborate in the fields of isotope production, seawater desalination, and nuclear power plants.  Inquired about whether President Xi will seek to mediate between Saudi Arabia and Iran given the recent dispute between Tehran and Riyadh, Pang underscored that the security of the Middle East is the security of the world as the region is sitting on colossal oil and gas reservoirs.  “Iran and Saudi Arabia are two key regional countries, with both of which China maintains excellent relations. We hope the two countries keep peaceful, cordial relations with other countries in the region and help each other to develop peace in the region,” the ambassador noted.  To Pang, regional countries may not agree on some issues and this is quite natural, however, there is a bit of history behind the Iran-Saudi Arabia tension and through political dialogue, solutions are reachable. The ambassador expressed his country’s preparedness to play its role in restoring peace and stability in the region.  On possible outcomes of the trip, Ambassador Pang reminded that this is the first highest-ranking visit to Iran by a Chinese official in more than a decade.  “The trip is of historic significance as it bridges the past and the future,” Pang made the remark. “China has a strategic look at its ties with Iran and the post-sanctions era is a great opportunity for the two countries to boost relations”.  Pang’s words on terrorism and if China ever intends to join the anti-terrorism quadrilateral coalition (of Russia, Iran, Syria, and Iraq) were unambiguous, where he emphasized that terrorism is a global challenge and his country backs up any anti-terrorism initiative as China is a victim of terrorism itself.  However, the ambassador emphasized that acting on double standards in battling extremism and attributing it to religions and nationalities should be avoided. “The United Nation should play a coordinating role and countries are required to form a united coalition,” Pang further noted.  In reply to a question on the role of China in the Syria crisis, Pang said China has been playing a very active role in the crisis and attended three ministerial sessions held on the conflict, where the country has put forwards proposals.  “On the Syrian crisis, I should say that solutions need to be within the framework of the United Nation’s Charter, the territorial integrity of Syria must be respected, the Syrian people should decide the fate of their country themselves, and solutions should be politically-oriented and free of violence,” Pang highlighted.  At the end, the ambassador commented on the prospect of Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the anti-terrorism mission of the organization, where he stressed that the SCO is a seminal platform for battling terrorism and relevant mechanisms have been defined by the organization.  The ambassador then referred to the important role of Iran in the body and stated that the nuclear accord with Iran has resulted in a better membership opportunity for Iran in the future. The ambassador expressed hope that Iran will join the organization in the future.


Iran’s Parliament Welcomes Promotion of Ties with China

Tasnim News Agency - January, 23, 2016 

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Speaker of Iran’s Parliament Ali Larijani stressed on Saturday that the parliament backs the development of bilateral ties between Tehran and Beijing, including a recent deal based on which China will modernize Iran’s Arak heavy-water nuclear reactor.  “Expansion of ties with China in all fields is of a great importance to Iran, and will lead to deeper relations between the two countries,” Larijani said in a meeting with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping here in Tehran.  Larijani underlined the need for promotion of economic ties in such fields as oil and gas, railroad, as well as the transfer of modern technologies including nanotechnology, biotechnology, and space technology to Iran.  He also pointed to mutual cooperation between Tehran and Beijing in the field of nuclear power plants, particularly on the Arak heavy-water reactor, adding that the Iranian parliament definitely supports such cooperation.  Xi, for his part, called for the enhancement of mutual political trust between the two states, urging that Iran and China should strongly support one another.


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani holds welcome ceremony for President XiJinping

Egypt's role in China's foreign policy

Friday, January 22, 2016

Iran Expects More Cooperation with China: Officials

2016-01-22 -    

Chinese President Xi Jinping is to visit Iran over the weekend, the final leg of his Middle East tour.
As CRI's Fei Fei reports, Iranian officials have expressed their expectations for more bilateral cooperation with China on the occasion of the visit.
Iran's Vice President and chairman of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, Masoud Soltanifar, said Iran expects to deepen cooperation with China in the areas of tourism and culture.
He hoped that more Chinese visitors can come to Iran to enjoy the country's profound cultural heritage.
"We think that the number of Chinese who travel to Iran should be higher than it is now, which is currently lower than 50,000. We believe that about ten to 20 percent of foreign tourists will come from China in the next ten years, which means that we will receive one million or two million Chinese tourists."
Soltanifar said Iran is already trying to attract more visitors by simplifying visa application procedures and improving tourism facilities to cater to Chinese visitors. For example, more Chinese restaurants, more travel guides who can speak Chinese, and more necessary facilities in accordance with the demands of Chinese tourists.


Chinese president in Iran for first time in 14 years

PRESS TV - Fri Jan 22, 2016 

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Tehran on a key two-day visit to hold talks with Iranian officials about opportunities to develop cooperation in politics and trade.  Upon his arrival at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Friday, Xi was welcomed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.  Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour said earlier on Friday that the visit of Xi, heading a high-ranking politico-economic delegation, comes at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.  During his visit, Xi is scheduled to hold talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani, he added.  Rahimpour noted that the visit will be the first by a Chinese president to Iran in 14 years.  He said Iran and China will sign 17 documents for cooperation in economic, industrial, cultural and judicial fields in the presence of the two countries’ presidents.


Xi arrives in Iran for state visit  01-23-2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Tehran, the capital of Iran, on the last leg of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was at the airport to welcome the him.
Xi Jinping will meet his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on Saturday for discussions on aligning their national development strategies and boosting cooperation on both political and economic fronts. He is also scheduled to meet Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
This is the first state visit to Iran in 14 years by a Chinese head of state, as well as Xi's first trip to the country.


President Xi's Speech at Arab League Headquarters: Full Text

Work Together for a Bright Future of China-Arab Relations
Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the Arab League Headquarters
Cairo, 21 January 2016
Your Excellency Nabil el-Araby, Secretary-General of the Arab League,
Your Excellency Sherif Ismail, Prime Minister of Egypt,
Distinguished Ministers,
Your Excellencies Diplomatic Envoys of Arab States,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to meet with Arab friends. This is my first visit to the Arab world as Chinese President. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, I wish to pay high tribute and extend best wishes to the Arab states and people.
An ancient Chinese philosopher said, “Visit those who you feel close to even without meeting them before, and invite those you cannot forget long after your paths crossed.” Coming to the Arab world, my colleagues and I all feel a sense of affinity. This is because in their exchanges across time and space, the Chinese and Arab peoples have been sincere with each other, forging friendship along the ancient Silk Road, sharing weal and woe in the fight for national independence, and helping each other in building their own countries. Such trust is unbreakable and cannot be bought with money.


Expansion of Sino-Egyptian economic zone starts  01-22-2016

An expansion of the Sino-Egyptian joint industrial zone began during Xi Jinping's state visit to Egypt. As one of China's premier overseas investment zones, the area has begun functioning little by little since construction began in 2009. How do the locals feel about the cooperation zone and how is it benefiting to both sides?
About 120 kilometers east of the capital Cairo is the Sino-Egyptian joint industrial zone.
Half of the Chinese investors in Egypt have chosen to base their companies here. And the workers are both Chinese and local.
It's not just the work style, an influence can even be seen in the language.
"I think the Chinese people can help us realize our dream, which is to have no blackouts. It's very simple. They have begun several projects in the past few years, that would be quite helpful in the improvement of the electric supply," Local employee at Chiese company said.


China's TEDA invests in new Suez Canal project  01-22-2016

Chinese investments are just over $5 billion but the Egyptian government is targeting double these numbers in 2016. Bilateral contracts are expected to be signed during Chinese president's visit to Cairo. CCTV looks at TEDA, one Chinese company that has recently been investing in the new suez canal project.
Egypt is trying to encourage more chinese investments here. Investments would strengthen the ailing foreign currency reserves, increase employment opportunities and raise national income. The new Suez canal project inaugurated last August, has been designed to attract such investments. And TEDA is one chinese company that is constructing a chinese industrial zone in the suez area.
The first phase is operational. TEDA attracted 33 chinese factories with investments worth $1 billion. These companies have exported $200 million worth of products in their first 6 months. They are employing 2,000 workers in several industries.
Suez canal is attractive for businesses because it links, Asia with Africa and Europe.
Chinese factories would find it cheaper and more profitable to stock, produce or assemble their products here, then transport it to Africa, Europe and even the US, from the Suez canal.
There is alot of potential to invest in Egypt . Officials here hope the visit of Chinese president Xi JinPing would encourage an inflow of investments that would help push the egyptian economy forward.

READ MORE.......

President Xi Jinping's Visit to the Middle East


Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a visit to the Middle East, which is taking him to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran. The Middle East is a region of growing importance to China. Not only does China import more than half of its crude oil from this region, but it is also an important link in China's "One Belt and One Road" initiative. To safeguard the stability of the region is also a high priority for China. The year 2015 witnessed China taking up a greater diplomatic role in Middle East affairs.
So how do experts analyze the importance of the Chinese president's visit? What potential can all sides tap into to elevate their ties in a comprehensive way?
Ni Hao, you're listening to People in the Know, presenting you with insights into the headlines in China, and around the world.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Why Iran Wants to Supply China With Oil

Callum Newman

MONEY MORNING - 21/01/2016

The ink is barely dry on lifting the international sanctions on Iran and already companies are moving in to tap its market.
The case is compelling. Iran has the world’s largest natural gas reserves, a population of 80 million and a US$400 billion economy.
The Australian Financial Review reports that already German automaker Daimler has announced a joint agreement to build Mercedes-Benz trucks inside the country.
It’s a crowded door leading into Iran at the moment.
All this is especially bullish for Europe…
Iran has closer trade and diplomatic ties to Europe than the US.
For example, Iran used to account for 13% of Peugeot sales before sales were suspended in 2012. And don’t forget the money to upgrade the domestic Iranian airline industry. Now Iran has already agreed to buy 114 planes from European company Airbus. The order is a mix of new and used jets.
That’s just a start.


Egypt’s Suez Canal Project is China’s new initiative’s pillar

AFRICA NEWS - JAN. 21, 2016

Egypt’s government says the country’s Suez Canal Project is expected to play a new role in the Belt and Road initiative that China has put forward.  The Asian country’s initiative aims to improve and create new trading routes, links and business opportunities with China.  Egypt says its own shipping expansion project, which was launched in August last year is a natural and perfect fit to China’s plan, that’s expected to revive the ancient route.  The country says connecting the two projects will open opportunities for both global and Chinese companies to use this strategic location to move from Egypt to major markets in Europe.  According to analysts, the Suez Canal development project and related investments are the economic salvation for Egypt.  It will result in the construction of industrial zones and businesses that will make Egypt a business center in the region.


Egypt, China sign 21 investment deals to foster mutual cooperation

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Jan 2016

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed in Cairo on Thursday a number of cooperation deals aimed to foster over 60 years of ties between the two countries, Egypt's state TV reported.
The official broadcasted footage shows the two leaders witnessing the signing of 21 technical and economic deals including one to build a new administrative capital and another to develop an industrial and commercial hub around Egypt's Suez Canal.
The deals-- in the transportation, power generation, and civil aviation sectors are worth $15, according to Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr.
They also include a $1 billion financing agreement for the Egyptian central bank and a $700 million loan to the state-owned National Bank of Egypt.


Egypt, China sign slew of economic deals

Chinese investments in Egypt surpassed $500 million in 2014 

Anadolu Agency - 21.01.2016

Egypt and China signed a slew of economic agreements Thursday, including $1.7 billion in loans to Egyptian banks.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Cairo on Wednesday as part of a regional tour that includes Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Addressing a joint press conference in Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said the deals between Cairo and Beijing reflect their keenness to bolster cooperation.
The signed agreements span from energy and power generation to the establishment of the first phase of a new Egyptian administrative capital unveiled last year.
They also include a $1 billion financing agreement for Egypt's central bank and a $700 million loan to state-owned National Bank of Egypt.


World Insight 01/19/2016 Xi Jinping in the Middle East; Chinese economy  01-20-2016


Xi Jinping calls for deep cooperation with Iran  01-21-2016 

An Iranian newspaper has published an article written by Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his official state visit from January 22nd to 23rd. In the article, Xi calls for better cooperation and closer ties with Iran.
Xi wrote that he will exchange views with his Iranian counterpart on international and regional affairs, and advance bilateral relations. He said Under the "Belt and Road" framework, both countries can enhance their political trust and share the development.
Xi said that he wishes that China and Iran can work together on a transportation network that helps to connect eastern and western Asia, expand cooperation on energy and industries, and enhance communications in a variety of fields.


Sub-anchor: Trade between China and Egypt  01-21-2016

China has become Egypt's largest trading partner. Bilateral trade has reached US$11 billion in 2014, up 14 percent from the previous year.
But Egypt still suffers from sharp trade deficits, as Chinese exports to Egypt are worth 10.5 billion dollars, while Egypt's exports to China stand at half a billion dollars.
The New Suez Canal was finished last July, with total costs of 8.2 billion dollars. The canal adds a new channel to allow ships to move in both directions simultaneously and expanded an existing sector.
In April 2015, Egypt officially became a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment bank. China and Egypt are expecting to deepen cooperation in fields of media, infrastructure projects and transportation projects.


Crossover: China, Egypt to cooperate under Belt & Road initiative

Reporter: Wu Guoxiu 丨  01-21-2016

For more on this, we now go live to our reporter Wu Guoxiu in Cairo.
Q1:  The two sides have been discussing Chinese investment in a number of Egyptian projects.  Tell us more about these potential deals...and what do they mean for strategic relations?
Q2:  President Xi is scheduled to address the Arab League in a few hours.  What are the key messages likely to be?


Studio interview: Importance of China to Egypt's trade and tourism  01-21-2016

Let's talk more about China and Egypt's economic relationship now with our guests, Li Yong, a senior fellow at China Association of International Trade/Current Affairs Commentator and Hussein Ismail, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of China Today's Arabic edition.

Q1. How important is China to Egypt when it comes to trade and tourism?

Q2. How can China benefit from closer ties with Egypt ?


Xi wraps up historic visit to Saudi Arabia, steps up energy cooperation

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua  01-21-2016

RIYADH, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- After attending the launch ceremony of the Yasref oil refinery, China's largest investment project in Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping on Wednesday wrapped up his visit to the kingdom, which was lauded as "historic."
Xi's two-day state visit has witnessed an upgrade of China-Saudi Arabia relations and stepped up energy cooperation between the two countries.
Accompanied by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Chinese president attended the ceremony at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh to remotely inaugurate the operation of the Yasref oil refinery, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and China's Sinopec.
Xi said that energy cooperation between the two countries has brought tangible benefits to both peoples.
The launch of the refinery, he said, conforms to not only the Saudi national development strategy, but also China's strategy of carrying out cooperation with countries in the regions outlined in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, a vision Xi put forward in 2013 to boost interconnectivity and common development along the ancient land and maritime Silk Roads.
As a full-conversion refinery covering 5.2 million square meters in the industrial city of Yanbu on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, Yasref plays a fundamental role in the future of Yanbu industries, the company said.
It is the first overseas refinery Sinopec has built. The two companies signed the agreement in early 2012 with a total investment of nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars. Aramco holds 62.5 percent of the stake while Sinopec holds 37.5 percent.


President Xi Jinping delivers speech at Arab League Headquarters

President Xi meets Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail  01-21-2016

President Xi Jinping has said the Chinese government encourages and supports qualified enterprises to participate in large-scale projects in Egypt.
He made the remarks as he met with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in Cairo. Xi said his visit is to deepen the China-Egypt relationship all-round, and to advance practical cooperation between two sides.
Ismail said Egypt supports the Belt and Road Initiative and will play an active role within the framework, becoming a corridor connecting trade between China and Europe.
After the meeting, Xi and Ismail visited a China Science and Technology Exhibition, in which 15 Chinese enterprises participated.


Xi meets friendly people awarded for contribution to China-Egypt friendship

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua  01-21-2016

CAIRO, Jan. 20, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) poses for a group photo with 10 friendly people awarded for their outstanding contribution to the China-Egypt friendship in Cairo, Egypt, January 20, 2016. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Cairo Wednesday for a state visit to Egypt, the second leg of his three-nation Middle East tour. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)


Egyptian president holds welcoming ceremony for President Xi  01-21-2016

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has held an official welcoming ceremony for President Xi Jinping in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
The two leaders then held a meeting, discussing bilateral relations and global issues. They also held a meeting on Wednesday evening, when Xi voiced China's support for Egypt's greater role in regional and international affairs.
Sisi told Xi that Egypt admires China's development, and is eager to learn from China's experiences. Egypt is President Xi Jinping's second visit after Saudi Arabia. After this he will go to Iran.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

China vows to contribute to Middle East stability

By Han Fangming, January 21, 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Saudi Arabia on Jan. 19 to begin his state visit to the three nations of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran in the Middle East. This is Xi's first overseas visit this year, which not only shows the close relations between China and these countries, but is also manifest of China's attitude toward helping create an atmosphere of peace in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia is China's biggest trade partner in Western Asia and Africa, and also the biggest supplier of crude oil. Egypt is the first country that established diplomatic relations with China among the Arabian countries in Africa. Iran is an important country for Chinese investment and a cooperative partner in the Middle East.  All the three countries are great powers in that region. However, after the "Arab Spring," the political situation in Egypt became unstable. On Jan. 4, Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic relations with Iran, which exacerbated the crisis in the region.  President Xi's visit showcases the friendly relations between China and the Arab region. China's long-term policy, which features mutual respect and non-interference in others' internal affairs, seems to have made Chinese suggestions very welcome among the nations in the region.  A range of opinions regarding the suppositions that China wants to mediate the Saudi-Iran conflict, that China is not resigned to playing a supporting role in the Middle East, and that China is taking a risk appeared in some Western media reports.


"Xi'nin Ortadoğu ziyareti ikili işbirliğini güçlendirecek"

CRI - 2016-01-18

Çin Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Zhang Ming, Cumhurbaşkanı Xi Jinping'in Suudi Arabistan, Mısır ve İran'a yapacağı ziyaretlerin, Çin'in Ortadoğu'da barış ve istikrarı ilerletmede oynadığı yapıcı rolü güçlendireceğini söyledi.  Zhang Ming, bugün düzenlenen basın toplantısında, Xi Jinping'in 19-24 Ocak günleri arasında gerçekleştireceği ziyaretlerle ilgili açıklamalarda bulundu.  Zhang, Cumhurbaşkanı Xi'nin üç ülkenin liderleriyle bölgede ve dünyada barış ve istikrarı ortaklaşa ilerletmek için başlıca uluslararası ve bölgesel meseleler üzerinde görüş alışverişinde bulunacağını belirtti.  Xi, Suudi Arabistan ziyareti esnasında Suudi Kral Salman bin Abdülaziz ile ikili ilişkilerin kapsamlı stratejik ortaklık seviyesine yükseltilmesini görüşecek.  Xi, ayrıca Körfez İşbirliği Konseyi (KİK) Genel Sekreteri Abdullatif Bin Raşid ez-Zeyani ve İslam İşbirliği Teşkilatı Genel Sekreteri İyad bin Amin Medeni ile de görüşmelerde bulunacak. Taraflar, Çin'in KİK ve İslam ülkeleriyle ortaklığının ilerletilmesi konularını ele alacak.


"Çin, Ortadoğu'da önemli rol oynamalı"

CRI - 2016-01-20

Çin Cumhurbaşkanı Xi Jinping'in üç Ortadoğu ülkesini kapsayan dış gezisi dün başladı. Gezinin ikinci durağı Mısır. Çok sayıda Mısır uzmanı, Xi'nin ziyaretini beklediklerini işaret ederek, Çin'in Ortadoğu'da önemli rol oynamasını istediler.
Mısır Piramit Stratejik Araştırma Merkezi Enerji Projesi Sorumlusu Ahmet Kandil, son bir yıl içinde Çin ve Mısır arasındaki üst düzey temasların giderek yoğunlaştığına işaret ederek, ikili ilişkilerin daha da sağlamlaştırıldığını vurguladı. Kandil şunları kaydetti:
"İki ülke arasında karşılıklı siyasi güven gitgide artmakta. Çin Cumhurbaşkanı Xi Jinping ve Mısır Cumhurbaşkanı Abdel Fattah El Sisi'nin ortak çabaları sayesinde, iki ülkenin liderleri yoğun ve aktif temaslarını korudu. Karşılıklı siyasi güven, ekonomi ve kültür dahil diğer alanlardaki işbirliği için güçlü bir zemin hazırladı. " 


Turkey approves founding deal of China-led Asian bank

HURRIYET DAILY - Wednesday,January 20 2016

Turkey has ratified the establishment agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was signed in June 2015.  According to a regulation, revealed in the Official Gazette on Jan. 12, Turkey will not pay more than $2.6 billion as the capital contribution to the bank. The Turkish cabinet has also been authorized to increase this amount by up to five times. Countries from five continents formally signed up on June 29, 2015, to the China-led AIIB, a potential rival to the Washington-based World Bank, as Beijing steps up its global diplomatic and economic role. In April 2015, the Chinese finance ministry said the AIIB had accepted Turkey’s application to join the bank as a founding state. The AIIB has been viewed by some as a rival to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and the United States and Japan, the world’s largest and third-largest economies, respectively, have notably declined to join. Beijing will be by far the largest AIIB shareholder at about 30 percent, the articles of association posted on the website of China’s finance ministry showed. India is the second biggest at 8.4 percent with Russia third on 6.5 percent, as reported by AFP in June 2015.


DHL Lays Tracks For China-Turkey Rail Corridor

New Multimodal Service is Segment of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative

International Trade  - January 19th, 2016 

DHL Global Forwarding has inaugurated a new service on the southern rail corridor between China and Turkey.
The corridor occupies a critical juncture within the Silk Road Economic Belt, part of China’s proposed One Belt, One Road initiative which it estimates will generate more than $2.5 trillion in annual trade within the next ten years.
Freight travelling via the corridor departs from Lianyungang, China and traverses three Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – as well two sea transit segments and is expected to take around 14 days, depending on travelling conditions before arriving in Istanbul, with the option for immediate forwarding by truck to any Turkish city.
“Negotiating the complex transnational requirements that span the Silk Road Economic Belt is no easy task,” said Kelvin Leung, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific. ”It requires a deep understanding of the varying regulatory and infrastructural conditions in each market, robust partnerships with local-market experts and authorities, and experience in brokering cross-border connections without compromising on overall speed and efficiency. Global freight providers such as DHL have a critical role to play in making the new Silk Road an economic reality.”


"Çin ile İslam ülkeleri arasında geleneksel dostluk vardır"

CRI - 2016-01-20

Suudi Arabistan'da bulunan Çin Cumhurbşakanı Xi Jinping dün Riyad'da İslam İşbirliği Teşkilatı (İİT) Genel Sekreteri İyad Emin el-Medeni'yle bir araya geldi.
Xi görüşmede yaptığı konuşmada, Çin ile İslam ülkeleri arasında doğal ve geleneksel bir dostluk bulunduğunu, iki tarafın 40'ı aşkın yıldır dostça teması koruyarak farklı medeniyetler, dinler ve sosyal yapıların bir arada yaşamasına örnek teşkil ettiklerini hatırlattı.
Xi, İİT'nin köprü rolü oynayarak Çin ile İslam ülkeleri arasındaki ilişkilerin gelişmesine itici güç kazandırmasını beklediklerini dile getirdi.
Çin ve İslam ülkelerinin ikili işbirliğine daha geniş bir bakış açısıyla bakması gerektiğine işaret eden Xi, İİT'nin Çin topraklarında meydana gelen şiddet ve terör faaliyetlerini açık dille kınamasını olumlu karşıladığını vurguladı.
Xi, Çin'in Bir Kuşak-Bir Yol kapsamında İslam ülkeleriyle ortak kalkınma gerçekleştirmeye, uluslararası işbirliğini güçlendirip adaleti korumaya hazır olduğunu belirtti.
İİT Genel Sekreteri İyad ise Çin'le ilişkilere büyük önem veren örgütün Çin'in Ortadoğu sorunundaki tutumunu olumlu karşıladığını söyledi. İyad, Çin'in Ortadoğu ve Afrika işlerinde daha büyük rol oynamasını beklediklerinin altını çizdi.

China, Arabs look for enhancing media cooperation

Xinhua, January 19, 2016 

Participants in the "Chinese-Arab Media Dialogue Conference," which kicked off in Cairo on Monday, called for enhancing means of mutual media cooperation, deeming it as "witnesses and protectors for Sino-Arab friendship." The conference came at the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping's five-day tour to the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran. "The Chinese-Arab media is a momentum for change and a registrar for the events," said Jiang Jianguo, minister of the State Council Information Office of China. Jiang suggested four ideas for increasing mutual cooperation in the media. The first is cooperation in raising the voice of peace and common development, as he said "the media personnel has a role in directing the public opinion and upholding the peace norms at wider range to positively enhance consensus in views and increase the positive energy towards peaceful development."He added that "we should cooperate hand in hand to combat all shapes of terrorism firmly."


Chinese President Xi Jinping's Egypt visit aims to strengthen strategic, economic ties

Zeinab El-Gundy

AL-AHRAM - Tuesday 19 Jan 2016

The Chinese president will have a busy two days in Egypt

Chinese President Xi Jinping will start his two-day visit to Egypt on Wednesday, discussing bilateral ties and regional matters with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
His visit comes as part of a 10-day tour in the Middle East which includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The two presidents will meet for talks on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Xi will address the newly elected Egyptian House of Representatives, according to the parliament's speaker, Ali Abdel-Aal.
Xi is the first foreign official to visit the House of Representatives.
He will also give a speech directed to the Arab world at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, which will set out China's policy towards the Middle East, and its desire to support peace and development in the region.
Both presidents will attend the signing of a number of economic agreements, including one related to civil aviation, several electricity projects, and an agreement related to the construction of Egypt's new administrative capital.


Is Xi Jinping the man to defuse tensions in the Middle East? Landmark visit to Iran and Saudi Arabia revealed

Kristine Kwok


The first visit of Xi Jinping to the Middle East marks a crucial moment for China’s role in the region

President Xi Jinping is to embark on a whirlwind visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in his first diplomatic trip of the year amidst escalating tensions in the region.
The timing of Xi’s visit – coming as Iran and Saudi Arabia lock horns in their worst conflict in a decade – will thrust China to the forefront of Middle East politics. Beijing will be closely watched as it tries to strike a delicate balance between the feuding Tehran and Riyadh.
Both are key oil suppliers to China and crucial to its going out strategy – the much touted One Belt, One Road development plan.
Xi is expected to use the trip to promote the strategy and secure oil supply in the Middle East.
Xi was scheduled to visit Egypt from January 20 to 22, the Egyptian foreign ministry announced last week.


Xi Jinping to walk fine line on Middle East visit

Zhuang Pinghui


China will balance the interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran, while calling for dialogue to resolve tensions, senior diplomat says ahead of state trip

China aims to evenly weigh the interests of Saudi Arabia and Iran as Beijing deepens its role in the region, a top Chinese diplomat said ahead of President Xi Jinping’s first Middle East tour.
Xi will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, becoming the first Chinese president to visit the kingdom since 2009. He is also scheduled to visit Egypt and Iran.
The trip comes at a tricky time – Riyadh and Tehran severed diplomatic relations earlier this month over the storming of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran after the kingdom executed a prominent Shiite Muslim cleric. The last state visit to Iran by a Chinese president was in 2002.
“China has always maintained a just and balanced stance and is dedicated to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Ming on Monday. “China calls for parties involved to resolve conflicts and disputes to promote regional stability, which suits the mutual interests of countries in the region, China and the international community.”
Zhang, who visited Saudi Arabia and Iran earlier this month, said Xi would “exchange opinions on regional disputes with country leaders”.
China intends to sign an action plan to enhance its comprehensive strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia over the next five to 10 years, and establish a strategic partnership with Iran.


Key facts behind China’s warming ties with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt as Xi Jinping signs mega oil deals during his Middle East tour

Zhuang Pinghui

SOUTH CHINA MORNING - Wednesday, 20 January, 2016

Oil giants Saudi Aramco and China’s Sinopec sign a framework deal worth up to US$1.5 billion during president’s visit: trips to Egypt and Iran next on agenda as Xi Jinping’s diplomacy push through the Middle East continues

China and Saudi Arabia agreed to expand their bilateral ties to form a comprehensive strategic partnership and boost industrial capacity cooperation on Tuesday during President Xi Jinping’s state visit in Riyadh.
Xi said China would expand oil trade with Saudi Arabia and promote cooperation over new energy, nuclear energy and security.
The Saudi Arabian oil giant Saudi Aramco and China’s Sinopec signed a framework agreement for strategic cooperation on Tuesday, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
The deal is estimated to be worth between US$1 billion and US$1.5 billion


Xi's article on Egyptian paper roadmap for Egypt-China future ties: experts

By Mahmoud Fouly

Xinhua | 2016-01-20

CAIRO, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The article of Chinese President Xi Jinping released Tuesday on the Egyptian national Al-Ahram newspaper specifies clear aspects and draws a roadmap for the future relations between the two countries, said Egyptian experts.
Occupying the front page of the paper and the main headline, Xi's article is released a day before his anticipated arrival to Cairo from Saudi Arabia's Riyadh on an official visit as the second stop of his regional tour including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran.
"Xi's article is considered a leap in the Egyptian-Chinese relations, as it outlines the road for the two countries' future bilateral ties and mutual cooperation, especially that the Chinese-Egyptian cultural year will be launched during Xi's visit to Cairo," said Tarek al-Sinouti, deputy editor-in-chief of state-run Al-Ahram Evening daily newspaper and expert of Chinese affairs.
In his article, the Chinese president said that the Chinese-Egyptian relations represent a springboard for the Chinese-Arab relations, voicing willingness to deepen mutual trust and comprehensive strategic cooperation between China and Egypt.
"What drew my attention most in Xi's article is that he addresses the Arab states, not only Egypt, which shows his awareness that Egypt represents the whole Arab world. It reflects Xi's awareness of the significance of Egypt and its central role in the region," Sameh Abdullah, managing editor of state-run Al-Ahram newspaper and head of the paper's official website, told Xinhua.


Exclusive interview with Chinese Ambassador to Egypt  01-20-2016 

CCTV has talked to the Chinese Ambassador to Egypt, Song Aiguo about President Xi's upcoming visit. He told us this visit will bring bilateral ties to a new level, after the relationship was elevated to comprehensive strategic partnership in late 2014.


Chinese president's visit to the Middle East begins  01-20-2016 

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia. It marks the beginning of his three-nation trip to the Middle East, which will also see him travel to Egypt and Iran.
President Xi received a welcome ceremony by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The visit to the Middle East is Xi Jinping's first overseas trip of the year.


President Xi meets Saudi Deputy Crown Prince  01-20-2016

While in Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping held separate meetings with Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince, chief of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and chief of the Gulf Cooperation Council. High on the agenda of all the talks was deepening cooperation in energy and inter-connectivity, under the One Belt and One Road framework.
While meeting Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Xi hailed the lifting of ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
He said China is willing to expand the scale of the oil trade, and promote bilateral cooperation in areas of clean energy, nuclear energy and security.
Xi Jinping said Saudi Arabia stands at a key junction along the "Belt and Road", and that the two countries should discuss aligning their development strategies and actively participate in the interconnectivity of the Middle East and the Gulf region.


Xi discusses regional issues, cultural exchanges with OIC chief  01-20-2016

While in Saudi Arabia, President Xi Jinping also held meetings with heads of key organizations in the region. The meetings covered a wide range of topics, from enhancing cultural exchanges, and deepening coordination in regional hotspot issues, to cooperation in infrastructure and energy.


Chinese president meets Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua  01-20-2016

RIYADH, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Tuesday with Secretary-General Abdul Latif bin Rashid Al Zayani of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and the two sides agreed to boost trade and energy cooperation.
Xi, on a state visit to Saudi Arabia, said China is willing to carry out comprehensive energy cooperation with the GCC countries and be a long-term, stable and reliable energy market for the six-member bloc.
The Chinese president suggested the two sides also deepen cooperation in infrastructure, telecommunications, power generation, investment, aerospace, and nuclear and renewable energy.
China welcomes the resumption of and substantial progress in the China-GCC free trade talks and hopes that the free trade area will be up and running as early as possible, he said.
Zayani, for his part, said that all GCC members support forging closer ties with China.
They all agree that the free trade talks should be advanced, he said, adding that they are happy to see the virtual conclusion of the negotiations on trade in goods.


GCC Sec. Gen. hopes to deepen cooperation with China  01-20-2016 

After his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Riyadh, the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, Abdul-latif bin Rashid Al-Zayani spoke exclusively to CCTV, he expressed his positive expectations for future cooperation.
"I'm happy to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Saudi Arabia. And I'm grateful for this chance. We've discussed all the issues related to the cooperation between China and GCC nations," Al-Zayani said.
Established in 1981, the GCC is a regional intergovernmental political and economic body. It's made up of  Gulf states Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
After taking office as head of the council in 2011, Al-Zayani has been pushing for tighter economic, political and military coordination among member states, transforming the GCC into a "Gulf Union".
He now hopes that the GCC can deepen cooperation with China.


China, Egypt mark Cultural Year 2016

Reporter: Wu Guoxiu 丨  01-20-2016

China and Egypt are working together culturally. Chinese President Xi Jinping will travel to Egypt on Wednesday, joining his counterpart President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to attend a celebration at Luxor temple- the Egyptian-Chinese cultural year and the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the nations.
Brushing off the dust for new comers. Egypt’s renowned heritage, the Luxor temple, dates back to the 14th century BC and where it will host leaders from China and Egypt on Thursday with a cultural feast .
"This 3500 year- old Luxor temple will soon witness the typical performances from Egypt and China, kicking off a year of extensive cultural collaborations between two of the world’s oldest civilizations," CCTV reporter Wu Guoxiu said.
Under these huge pillars, a stage performance--Thousand Hand Bodhisattva, presented by Chinese artists, who are deaf and mute. This will be the first time, these young disabled dancers will perform in Egypt except for one, Chen Cen.
"When I joined this dance group in 2004, my first dance abroad was in Egypt. I was 15 then. I haven’t thought I’d perform it in Egypt again," she signed.


Egypt unveils Suez Canal projects for Chinese investors  01-20-2016 

Egypt's Suez Canal is a vital part of the Ancient Maritime Silk Road from China to South Europe. The extensions made to the canal and the possible investment projects are among Egypt's priorities in the discussions with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Since August last year, when President EL Sisi inaugurated the New Suez Canal Project, this vital water way has become ready to accommodate more ships and larger ones too. But the President's first national project was just the beginning for a bigger Egyptian dream, that should be constructed on Canal's desert shores. Cairo believes that these projects are a natural fit to China's global trade plans.
The Suez Canal developmental project is considered to be Egypt's economical salvation. Trade and industrial zones will be built in hopes to turn Egypt into a business hub of the region.
It's a vision China already started even before the latest expansion of the Suez Canal. A Chinese industrial zone is already under construction, it should accommodate up to 200 factories.
Egypt couldn't be happier by the timing of the Maritime silk road revival. And during President' Xi Jinping's meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, El Sisi's most favorite project will definitely top the economic cooperation files.


China, Saudi Arabia form comprehensive strategic partnership

Reporter: Han Peng 丨  01-20-2016

China and Saudi Arabia have agreed to lift their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The announcement was made after Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held talks with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
President Xi arrived in Riyadh on Tuesday on the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. It's the first state visit by a Chinese head of state to Saudi Arabia in seven years.
RIYADH, Jan. 19, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L) holds talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (3rd R) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 19, 2016. Xi arrived here on Tuesday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first stop of his three-nation tour of the Middle East. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to build a stable long-term energy cooperation, and make the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank a win-win financing platform.
After the talks, a series of cooperation deals were also signed, covering areas such as energy, communications, environment, culture, and science and technology.
President Xi Jinping's arrival in Saudi Arabia has met with high-profile reception. The Saudi Arabia authorities sent four fighter jets to escort President Xi Jinping's plane.
Actually China is one of the biggest trading partners of  Saudi Arabia. And Saudi Arabia is China's biggest oil supplier. The economic cooperation between the two countries are mutually beneficial.
President Xi's visit also comes at a time when Saudi Arabia and Iran, two giants in the Middle East, have seen their worst relations in over a decade.
President Xi Jinping actually is the very first head of state to visit both countries, since they cut their diplomatic ties earlier this month.
According to Chinese diplomatic sources, China is not willing to take sides on this issue, and is committed to developing friendly relations with both countries to boost regional stability.
So it's very interesting to see how President Xi Jinping will strike a delicate balance between the two major countries in the Middle East.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Xi’s Saudi Arabia visit to deepen bilateral ties: Saudi Editor

People's Daily - January 19, 2016

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Saudi Arabia will significantly deepen bilateral ties in politics, economy, society and culture, Salman Aldossary, editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, a major Saudi Arabian newspaper, told the People’s Daily on the eve of Xi’s Middle East trip.
Saudi Arabia, now China’s largest trading partner in West Asia, will be the first stop of Xi’s trip.
“Xi’s upcoming Saudi Arabia visit is of historic significance,” the editor-in-chief added.
  China and Saudi Arabia develop their economic and trade ties rapidly in recent years. ICBC, China’s largest bank by total assets opened its branch in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia on June 4, 2015. It is the first China-funded bank in the country. (Photo: Xinhua)  Salman said that to diversify its economy, Saudi Arabia has increased investment in China and their mutually beneficial cooperation is on the “fast track.” “As China grows its industry and technology rapidly, Saudi Arabia hopes to intensify its ties with China,” he added.  Hailing the importance of China’s proposal to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the editor-in-chief noted that it not only tightened economic, trade and cultural ties between China and the nations along the routes, but also facilitated infrastructure construction and currency circulation.  “Thanks to its geographic position and dominance of the regional economy, Saudi Arabia carries significant weight in the routes,” Salman added.  He also appreciated the newly-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), saying that the bank built to help Asian countries with infrastructure construction now receive more worldwide support.