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China says strategic dialogue with GCC "very important".

| By Bader Al-Sharhan KUWAIT, Jan 16 (KUNA) -- The strategic dialogue between China and the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is "very important," and the two sides can explore many opportunities to further strengthen bilateral cooperation at many levels, Chinese Ambassador to Kuwait Cui Jianchun has said.

"I believe this is a very important dialogue. The GCC as a regional organization is playing more and more important role in this region," Cui said Thursday.

The Third China-GCC Strategic Dialogue is due to be held in Beijing on January 17-18. Kuwait, which holds the rotating presidency of the GCC, will be represented by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

Cui said the dialogue was an opportunity to explore further means of cooperation between the two sides. "We could find a lot of things in common.

"We believe the GCC and China enjoy friendship which is based on trust. This dialogue will demonstrate the trust and friendship between the two sides, " he said in an interview with KUNA.

The two sides, added Cui, could enhance political and economic cooperation.

The Gulf region plays a very important role in Asia, he added.

China, said Cui, was keen on "building a maritime silk road that will extend from China to India to the Gulf, and it will be very important for the GCC countries (and can contribute) to build infrastructure projects." The Ambassador said China and the GCC could also join hands to solve regional problems through the strategic dialogue.

Cui said the two sides needed to make the mechanism of the strategic dialogue, which was held for the first time in China in 2010, more effective.

"The Kuwaiti side suggested and supported that this mechanism should be held on a yearly basis," he said.

Cui, meanwhile, underlined that China believed the relations with Kuwait were very important. He hoped senior-level officials from the two countries would be exchanging visits.

"We believe the most important thing is the political affair, and I also emphasize that security is important for Kuwait and China," he said.

Cui added that energy cooperation with Kuwait was important because of China's big market.

Kuwait's crude oil exports to China in the January-November period in 2013 stood at 8.21 million tons, equivalent to around 180,000 barrels per day (bpd).

In November alone, Kuwait's shipments to the world's second-biggest energy market stood at 124,000 bpd.

China is expected to replace the US as the world's largest oil importer by the 2020s followed by India, as emerging economies are poised to claim most of the global energy supplies, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said late November.

Cui said China and Kuwait could further cement collaboration in trade and investment, cultural and people-to-people exchange as well as in infrastructure field.

"We think there is much more potential between Kuwait and China," he said, like the establishment of companies and opening of branches of banks in the two capitals.

On the Syrian crisis, Cui said China has proposed many solutions and "tried to persuade the parties in Syria to stop the violence," which killed more than 100,000 people and displaced millions others.

"China seeks fair and transparent solution for the Syrian problem," he said.

Kuwait hosted the second donors conference to help the Syrian people yesterday, during which His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah announced a donation of USD 500 million from the public and private sectors to help alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

A conference will be held in Switzerland on January 22, better known as the Geneva II, which aims at reaching a political solution for the Syrian crisis, which was approaching its third year.

On Iran, Ambassador Cui said China welcomed the nuclear agreement that was struck between Tehran and the P5+1 group in Geneva last November. "This is a very positive progress." Iran, according to the agreement, would be stopping uranium enrichment and installing new generation centrifuges in exchange of the easing of sanctions. The implementation of the agreement will be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The agreement is a "very important step for the international community," said Cui.

"If this agreement will be thoroughly implemented, it will have a big impact on the whole world," he said. (end) bs KUNA 160943 Jan 14NNNN

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:7KUWA
Date:Jan 16, 2014
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