Belt and Road Initiative to strengthen China-Kuwait ties: Chinese envoy

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 21 (APP/Xinhua): The Belt and Road Initiative could
tremendously bolster ties between China and Kuwait, Chinese Ambassador Wang Di
has said.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kuwait and China
in 1971, the two countries have seen sustained advances in their ties, the
ambassador to Kuwait told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Kuwait was the first Gulf Arab state to set up full diplomatic ties with
the People’s Republic of China.
The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road
Initiative, first put forward in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, concurs
with the vision of Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to transform
Kuwait into a global center for finance and commerce, said Wang.
He also noted that Kuwait is one of the first Arab countries to have
signed a cooperation agreement with China under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Wang said China and Kuwait are economically complementary, and that
provides many overlapping areas for the two countries to work together.
On the energy front, crude oil exports account for about 94 percent of
Kuwait’s total revenues while China has a demand for oil imports, said Wang.
Wang said high quality commodities made in China have room to grow in
Kuwait’s largely import-dependent market.
Wang cited infrastructure as another area, saying Chinese enterprises are
skilled in oilfield exploration and infrastructure construction, in which
Kuwait requires plenty of outsourcing for its projects.
Wang said in the field of telecommunication, Kuwait is developing high-
speed Internet service and smart cities, areas in which Chinese companies are
also experts.
In February 2010, with an aim to change the country’s long-existed oil-
reliant economic structure, the Kuwaiti government unveiled “Kuwait 2035,” a
national development strategy, hoping to build the country into a trade and
financial hub.
In 2015, the government announced plans to develop five islands off the
eastern coast of the country into free trade zones, a perfect complement for
the Belt and Road, said Wang.
“China is advanced in planning and building economic zones and free trade
areas. Chinese enterprises have gained rich experience in port terminal
construction, island planning and project implementation,” Wang said.
Bilateral trade has rapidly grown in recent years, Wang said.
Trade between China and Kuwait reached 9.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2016,
more than 60 times the volume since the inception of diplomatic ties. China is
also Kuwait’s largest non-fuel trade partner. Kuwait, meanwhile, is the eighth
largest petroleum exporter to China.
“We firmly believe that, with joint efforts from both sides, China-Kuwait
cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative will bear fruitful results,
serving the economic and social development of both sides and further
promoting friendly ties,” Wang said.