BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- China and Arab nations will unveil a series of plans to upgrade relations at an upcoming ministerial meeting, according to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Monday.
At the sixth ministerial conference of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum on Thursday, the two sides will adopt a declaration, an action plan for 2014-2016, and a development plan for 2014-2024, Wang said in a bylined article published by Xinhua.
"China wants to reinforce cooperation with Arab states in both traditional sectors like energy, trade and infrastructure and emerging sectors like nuclear energy, space and new energy with a view to sharing development benefits and promoting common prosperity," he said.
He said Arab states, located at the western end of the economic belt along the Silk Road and the 21st-century maritime silk road, are "natural and important cooperation partners for China" in creating the belt and the maritime silk road.
"The two sides need to plan for the growth of their relations in the next 10 years around the priority of building the economic belt and the maritime silk road," he said.
The foreign minister called on the two sides to give mutual support on issues concerning each other's core and major interests, step up coordination and collaboration in regional and international affairs, and turn the balance of power in favor of developing countries.
He also expressed the will to intensify the people-to-people exchanges.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Forum. Looking back at the development of the ties in the past decade, Wang hailed the two sides "have always treated each other with sincerity and trust and stayed the course of strategic cooperation."
As always, China supported Arab states in independently exploring development paths compatible with their national conditions and in restoring the legitimate rights of their nations, including Palestine's right to be an independent state, he said.
China is now the second biggest trading partner of the Arab world and the top trading partner of nine Arab states. During the past decade, trade volume between China and the Arab states risen from 25.5 billion U.S. dollars to 239 billion U.S. dollars.
The foreign Minister revealed that during the past decade, China's imports of crude oil from Arab states rose from 40.6 million tons to 133 million tons. The value of new engineering contracts signed by Chinese businesses in Arab states increased from 2.6 billion U.S. dollars every year to 29.1 billion U.S. dollars. The annual increase in non-financial direct investment by Chinese businesses in Arab states also grew from 17.2 million U.S. dollars to 2.04 billion U.S. dollars.
Wang urged the two sides to seize the opportunity and work together to counter challenges and achieve common development, as China is deepening reform while the Middle East is experiencing major changes, adjustments and transformation like never before.
"Let the tenth anniversary be a new starting point for China and Arab states to join hands, keep the momentum, and usher in a brighter future for China-Arab relations and the China-Arab Cooperation Forum," he said.