China, Gulf states outline 2014-2017 cooperation
                 English.news.cn | 2014-01-17 23:32:58 | Editor: Mu Xuequan

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Friday mapped out an action plan for cooperation from 2014 to 2017 and vowed to speed up their free trade talks.

The plan, announced after their third strategic dialogue in Beijing, set goals for cooperation in politics, trade, energy, environmental protection and climate, culture, education, health and sports.

China and the GCC will speed up free trade agreement (FTA) talks as they complement each other in economy and building a FTA serves their mutual interests, a press release after the dialogue said.

Friday's dialogue was co-chaired by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah, the first deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Kuwait, rotating chair of the GCC.

"Kuwait will play its role to reboot the negotiations soon," Al-Sabah said.

The GCC, a regional political and economic alliance set up in 1981, includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. China started FTA negotiations with the bloc in July, 2004 and had five rounds of talks and two panel meetings before talks stalled after 2009.

"China is eying the establishment of a strategic partnership, using the FTA as a driving force to boost pragmatic cooperation in all fields," Wang said.

China hopes to work with the GCC to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century maritime Silk Road, Wang said, referring to President Xi Jinping's proposal of reviving the ancient Silk Roads, which historically linked China with Europe and east coast of Africa, as a way of developing political and economic ties.

Both sides understand the strategic importance of the Middle East and Gulf region and maintaining regional peace and stability will be in the interests of regional countries and the international community, according to the press release.

China appreciates the GCC members' efforts to preserve regional security and stability and supports them.

China and the GCC agreed that the international community should make joint efforts to ensure the Geneva-II conference is convened as scheduled and facilitate a political solution on the Syria issue.

Prior to the dialogue, Chinese and Kuwait foreign ministers met on bilateral relations, pledging to enhance ties between China and Kuwait as well as relations with the GCC and League of Arab States.

The fourth dialogue between China and the GCC will be held in Qatar in 2015.

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