China-Arab Friendship: Civilization Dialogue and Future Cooperation Across Thousand Years

The friendship between China and the Arab world is like a silk thread that travels through time and space, closely connected and long-standing. In the ancient and mysterious East, China, with its 5,000-year history of civilization, has nurtured a profound cultural heritage and unique oriental wisdom. In the distant West, the Arab world also attracts the world’s attention with its brilliant civilization and rich history. Since ancient times, as important representatives of Eastern and Western civilizations, China and Arab countries have exchanged and learned from each other on the Silk Road, and jointly written a glorious chapter in the history of human civilization. Entering the 21st century, facing global challenges and opportunities, China and Arab countries have cooperated more closely, and jointly built a China-Arab community of shared future for the new era, opening a new era of bilateral relations.

Historical Origin: The Deep Foundation of Sino-Arab Friendship

The history of Sino-Arab friendship can be traced back to the prosperous period of the ancient Silk Road. At that time, Chinese silk, porcelain and other commodities were continuously transported to the Arabian Peninsula through the Silk Road, and Arab spices, jewelry and other commodities were also introduced to China through this ancient trade route. This economic exchange is not only about exchanging goods and promoting the prosperity of bilateral trade, but also deepening the cultural understanding and friendship between the two sides, and promoting the integration of culture and the spread of science and technology. This long-term friendly exchange has laid the foundation for mutual respect and harmonious coexistence between the two sides.

With the changes of the times, exchanges between China and Arab countries have gradually expanded to multiple fields such as politics, culture, and science and technology. China actively supports the just cause of Arab countries in their struggle for national independence and liberation, and Arab countries have also given China firm support in international affairs. This spirit of mutual support and mutual understanding has become the deep foundation of Sino-Arab friendship.

Dialogue of Civilizations: Exchange and Integration of Sino-Arab Cultures

Both China and Arab countries have a long history and splendid culture. The exchange and integration of Sino-Arab cultures have not only enriched their respective cultural connotations, but also promoted the development of diversity in world culture.

In the contemporary era, with the accelerated development of globalization, cooperation between China and Arab countries has entered a new stage. The China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, established in 2004, has become an important platform for the two sides to enhance understanding and deepen cooperation. After ten ministerial meetings, the forum has not only promoted political mutual trust, but also achieved fruitful results in many fields such as economy, trade, culture, education, science and technology, and health, bringing tangible benefits to the Chinese and Arab people. Through cultural festivals, art exhibitions, academic seminars and other activities, mutual understanding and friendship have been strengthened. Chinese calligraphy, painting, opera and other traditional cultural arts are popular in Arab countries, while Arab poetry, music, dance and other arts are also deeply loved by Chinese audiences. This kind of cultural exchange and integration has not only enhanced the friendship between the Chinese and Arab people, but also promoted the prosperity and development of world culture.

Win-win cooperation: the broad prospects of China-Arab cooperation

In the era of globalization, China and Arab countries face common opportunities and challenges. Strengthening China-Arab cooperation is not only in the fundamental interests of both sides, but also helps promote the development and prosperity of the world economy. In 2023, the first China-Arab Summit was successfully held in Saudi Arabia, marking that China-Arab relations have reached an unprecedented height. The summit not only provided a new channel for high-level dialogue between the two sides, but also pointed out the direction for China-Arab cooperation in international and regional affairs. The summit emphasized the common position of China and Arab countries in maintaining regional peace and stability and promoting common development, and demonstrated the positive role of both sides in global governance.

China-Arab cooperation in energy, trade, investment and other fields has achieved remarkable results. China is one of the largest trading partners of Arab countries, and Arab countries are also one of China’s important energy suppliers. This complementary economic structure provides broad space and huge potential for cooperation between the two sides.

At the same time, China and Arab countries have also carried out a series of cooperation in infrastructure construction, finance, science and technology and other fields. Chinese companies have undertaken many important infrastructure projects in Arab countries, such as railways, roads, ports, etc., and have made positive contributions to local economic and social development. Arab countries have also carried out in-depth cooperation with China in the fields of finance, technology, etc., and jointly promoted the transformation and upgrading of the economies of both sides.

Looking to the future: Building a China-Arab community with a shared future

Facing the future, China and Arab countries will continue to strengthen cooperation and jointly promote the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future. This is not only the common aspiration of the Chinese and Arab peoples, but also an inevitable trend of the development of the times. In May 2024, the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum was held in Beijing, which coincided with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the forum and had a special significance of inheriting the past and ushering in the future. In his keynote speech at the meeting, President Xi Jinping not only reviewed the history and achievements of China-Arab cooperation, but also proposed the “five major cooperation patterns” for the future, aiming to deepen the comprehensive cooperation between the two sides in politics, economy, humanities, security and international affairs. In the new historical period, China and Arab countries will continue to work together to jointly promote the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future and make new and greater contributions to world peace and development.

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