Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the China-Arab States Expo in Yinchuan, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Sept. 15, 2013. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
YINCHUAN, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- The first China-Arab States Expo, a key platform to promote the relationship between China and the Arab states, kicked off on Sunday in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
President Xi Jinping sent a letter of congratulations to the event, in which he said the expo is of great significance in promoting an all-round cooperation between China and the Arab states.
China is willing to carry out cooperation with Arab states to benefit the people of both sides and contribute to the prosperity of the world, Xi said.
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, delivered a speech at the opening of the exposition, which runs until Sept. 19 in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia.
Yu called for further expansion of cooperation with Arab countries in energy resources and trade.
He said China and the Arab nations should further consolidate mutual political trust and deepen economic and trade cooperation. He also called for more active mutual exchanges in culture and human resources.
King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-khalifa of Bahrain, Vanuatu's Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil and some other foreign leaders attended the opening ceremony.
Kuwait has been invited as the guest country of honor. Anas AL-Saleh, Minister of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait, said at the opening ceremony that Kuwait has always kept a close relationship with China, and the bilateral ties between both sides have developed in the past 40 years.
China has become an important trading partner of Kuwait, and the two sides have seen rapid increase in trade. Trade value between China and Kuwait totaled 12.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2012.
According to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Kuwait has invested 887 million U.S. dollars in 35 projects in China during the past 30 years, which included road, airport, port and railway construction, and covered fields of environment, education and hospitals.
"Kuwait is willing to participate in trade activities like the exposition to develop relationships with each country," he said.
More than 7,300 domestic and overseas officials, exhibitors, purchasers and investors from nearly 70 countries including Bahrain, Jordan, Oman and Kuwait participate the fair.
The event will feature trade fairs and seminars on agriculture, energy, finance, culture, education and tourism.
The Expo is jointly sponsored by China's Ministry of Commerce, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the government of Ningxia. Its predecessor, known as China (Ningxia) International Investment and Trade Fair and the China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum, was held annually from 2010 to 2012.
Ningxia is home to more than 10 percent of China's 20 million Muslims.