Chinese vice premier calls for stronger energy cooperation with Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Tuesday that China is willing to deepen energy cooperation with Kuwait.

Zhang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks while meeting with Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

Zhang said China would like to join Kuwait in nurturing a long-term and stable partnership over the supply and demand of energy, and in deepening their energy cooperation.

China and Kuwait have enjoyed deep and traditional friendship, said Zhang, noting that during a visit to China in 2014, Jaber reached a series of important consensuses with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, which have effectively promote the development of bilateral ties.

He said the two sides have since worked to achieve a steadfast cooperation in all areas, calling on the two countries to volume up exchanges between the two governments, legislatures, and local authorities, and to push forward Kuwait's Silk City project and a plan to develop five islands off the country's coastlines into free trade zones, in a bid to promote bilateral practical cooperation.

Zhang also said that China is ready to enhance investment and finance cooperation with the Arab country, and supports it in building a financial and trade hub in the Gulf area, adding that China welcomes investment from Kuwaiti firms and would continue to encourage Chinese companies to do business in Kuwait.

For his part, Jaber said Kuwait values the traditional friendship with China, and is going to further integrate the Silk City and the "five islands" development projects with China's Belt and Road Initiative.

He also welcomes China's all-round participation in Kuwait's national construction and economic development, and to build a solid foundation for China-Kuwait friendship in a new era.

In a separate meeting on Tuesday with Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Zhang also called on both sides to focus on energy cooperation, and to a lasting energy partnership that integrates the upstream and downstream.

Zhang said China and Kuwait have maintained a stable development of bilateral ties since the establishment of diplomatic links 46 years ago, adding that China would like to maintain interactions with the Kuwaiti side at all levels, and to keep up with mutual support on issues of each other's core interests and major concerns.

While urging the two sides to further integrate development strategies and bolster infrastructure construction, Zhang said China is ready to encourage Chinese companies to participate in building railways, ports, roads, bridges, houses and other projects related to the Silk City and islands development projects.

The two countries should also enhance people-to-people and cultural cooperation, including the exchanges between press, think-tank experts and non-governmental bodies, said he.

The Chinese Vice Premier added that the two countries should also push forward the negotiations of a free trade agreement between China and the Gulf countries.

Al-Sabah said Kuwait is proud to be the first Gulf nation to established diplomatic ties with China, adding that his country has always adhered to the one-China policy, and shares the same position in major international and regional issues with Beijing.

Kuwait is committed to implementing the signed agreements with China, so as to make the bilateral cooperation more practical and robust.

Kuwait is the first leg of Zhang's four-nation tour, which is also going to take him to Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Namibia.

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