YINCHUAN - The first China-Arab States Expo, a key platform to promote the relationship between China and the Arab states, kicked off on Sunday morning in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region.
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, attended the exposition, which runs until Sept 19 in the Ningxia capital, Yinchuan.
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, the capital of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Sept 15, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]
Foreign leaders, including King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al-khalifa of Bahrain and Vanuatu Prime Minister Moana Carcasses Kalosil 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.
In addition, the two sides are looking forward to bilateral relations reaching a higher level in the future, which has laid a solid foundation for friendly ties between both sides, as well as their comprehensive development.
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 in 2012.
According to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Kuwait has invested $887 million 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, which could develop relationships with each country, and grasp this opportunity to know the latest achievements that each participating country has made through economic reforms," he said.
He also stressed that expanding cooperation could promote the economies of China and Arab states, and realize their common aspirations.
As the guest country of honor of the first exposition, a national pavilion of Kuwait has been set up, and a friendly youth football match between China and Kuwait will be held on Sunday evening.
More than 7,300 domestic and overseas officials, exhibitors, purchasers and investors from Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait and other countries have been attracted to the fair.
With the theme of "globally oriented China-Arab states cooperation" and an aim of "carrying forward friendship, cooperation and common development", 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, has been held annually since 2010.
Ningxia is home to more than 10 percent of China's 20 million Muslims.