Tue, 18 May 2021

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi co-chair the 9th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum via video link, July 6, 2020. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

-Words are only leaves, but actions bear fruits.

-Facing the future, China and Arab countries should continue the COVID-19 fight and the Belt and Road construction with joined hands, and promote the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future for the benefit of their peoples.

by Xinhua writer Zhang Xin

BEIJING, July 7 (Xinhua) -- In a ministerial meeting held via video link on Monday, foreign ministers of China and Arab countries, as well as other ministerial officials, highlighted the solidarity between the two sides in fighting COVID-19 and their consensus in strengthening bilateral ties.

This was the second time within two weeks that joint efforts to combat COVID-19 has been hailed by both sides, following a meeting among Chinese and Arab political parties ending on June 24.

Photo taken on May 6, 2016 shows the view of Liwa desert, some 240 kilometers southeast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE, located at the intersection of the Belt and Road Initiative, is an important partner for China to promote the Belt and Road Initiative. (Xinhua/Li Zhen)

Sprouting along the ancient Silk Road, the centuries-old friendship between China and Arab countries has been considerably enriched since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, and more recently during the global pandemic.

As China was battling COVID-19 earlier this year, the Arab world quickly voiced support for China and donated medical supplies. When the pandemic began to ravage the Arab region, China delivered medical resources to and shared experience with its Arab friends despite being in the middle of its own COVID-19 battle.

So far, Chinese medical experts have shared experience in combating the disease with their counterparts from 21 Arab countries via video conferences. Furthermore, they helped Iraq build its first PCR lab to test for the virus. Batches of Chinese medical supplies are continuously delivered to Arab countries in need.

Iraqi Minister of Transport Abdullah Luaibi (L) presents a bouquet to Tao Zhongquan, head of the Chinese medical team, at the Baghdad International Airport in Baghdad, Iraq, April 26, 2020. (Xinhua)

Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi called China a good friend standing together with Iraq through hard times. Tunisian Foreign Minister Noureddine Erray said that cooperation with China should be deepened. Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf called the friendly China-Arab ties exemplary.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. The mutual support and assistance between China and Arab countries amid the pandemic will help them overcome the current difficulties, and solidify the foundation for cooperation in the future.

China and Arab countries share similar interests and common dreams, such as national rejuvenation and peaceful development. Their shoulder-to-shoulder fight against COVID-19 strengthens this relationship.

A billboard reading "Thanks for the white army" in Arabic is seen on a street in Cairo, Egypt, on May 19, 2020. (Xinhua/Wu Huiwo)

In the face of rising unilateralism and protectionism amid the pandemic, both China and the Arab world have stressed the importance of international solidarity and cooperation, supporting the key role of the World Health Organization and rejecting any politicalization of the virus.

With global economic growth under threat, both China and Arab countries have pledged to continue joint projects under the Belt and Road, such as the Hassyan clean coal power plant in Dubai, with significant progress made despite the pandemic.

Chinese medical team members hold a meeting with their Kuwaiti counterparts in Mubarak Al-Kabeer Governorate, Kuwait, on April 29, 2020. (Xinhua)

The challenge of COVID-19 has reinforced the foundation of the China-Arab strategic partnership and enhanced the friendship between the Chinese and Arab peoples.

Today, the pandemic continues to rage across the world. As President Xi said in his congratulatory letter to the ministerial meeting, it is more necessary than ever for the two sides to step up cooperation and join hands in tiding over their present difficulties.

Words are only leaves, but actions bear fruits. Facing the future, China and Arab countries should continue the COVID-19 fight and the Belt and Road construction with joined hands, and promote the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future for the benefit of their peoples. ■

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