China, 6 Mideast countries affirm ties – World – Chinadaily.com.cn

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks while attending the China-GCC ministerial meeting via video link on Monday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Vaccine development noted at ministers meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council

Working together on vaccines has become a highlight of the anti-pandemic cooperation between China and Gulf Cooperation Council countries, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said while attending the China-GCC ministerial meeting via video link on Monday.

The world’s first Phase III clinical trial of an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine, carried out by China with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, has progressed steadily and efficiently with 44,000 people vaccinated, Wang said.

As a reliable strategic partner of all GCC countries, China is willing to respond to the vaccine needs of people in the region, he said, adding that China will take concrete actions to build a community of health for all.

Wang said the two sides also should carry out post-pandemic economic reconstruction, restart negotiations on the China-GCC Free Trade Area and promote the joint building of major Belt and Road projects.

In the past three years, trade between China and the GCC countries has risen at an annual growth rate of more than 10 percent, with last year’s trade volume reaching a record $179.4 billion.

China has signed Belt and Road cooperative documents and worked on 5G networks with all six GCC countries-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Wang said China-GCC cooperation has continued to grow in areas such as energy and construction projects this year despite COVID-19.This indicates that their interchanges have great mutual benefits, and practical cooperation is highly resilient, he said.

At the meeting, Wang also stressed the importance of a stable China-GCC relationship in dealing with the turbulent international situation and promoting regional prosperity and development.

Their cooperation has become a stable force in the region and the world thanks to years of mutual understanding, mutual trust and support, Wang said, calling for adherence to multilateralism.

Wang said China would continue to support GCC countries in maintaining their political security and social stability, and in their independent development. China opposes any interference in GCC countries’ internal affairs based on any excuse, he added.

According to the GCC countries’ ministers, China has become their largest exporter and importer, which shows huge potential for further cooperation.

The ministers said the GCC countries firmly adhere to the one-China policy and are willing to jointly build the Belt and Road with high quality with China. They also said they appreciated China’s constructive role in regional issues in promoting the resolution of disputes through dialogue.

Yu Yong, associate researcher at the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, said the meeting sent a signal of confidence for the world’s economic recovery.

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