The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Li Chen stressed on Wednesday that the visit of His Highness the Amir to Beijing, will play a key role in enriching the strategic bilateral ties and will enhance bilateral co-operation in all fields.
The Ambassador said that there is a strong will from the leadership of both sides to enhance strategic ties, expressing confidence that the visit of the Amir will enhance bilateral co-operation.
The two sides will hold talks to enhance their strategic partnership and co-operation in all fields.
They will also discuss a number of regional and international issues of joint interest, in addition to signing a number of agreements on the sidelines of the Qatari-Chinese Business Forum.
The ambassador highlighted the historic ties between the two countries, saying they just celebrated 30 years on establishing diplomatic ties.
He added that friendship between the Chinese and Qatari peoples extend for more than a thousand years.
The Ambassador of China to Qatar said that the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries back in 1988 paved the way for the beginning of a new era of relations between them and the two peoples in terms of equality, mutual respect, understanding, mutual support and sincere cooperation.
He added that over the past 30 years, under the patronage and support of the two leaders at various stages, the friendly relations between China and Qatar have witnessed continuous and rapid development.
He noted that the two countries support of one another on fundamental issues increases mutual political trust.
He added that, at the level of international co-operation, China and Qatar are keen to co-ordinate, co-operate and work to maintain peace and stability at the regional and international levels.
He also said that the two sides also defend the common interests of developing countries and strive to build a human society in which peace, security and development prevail.
He noted that the two countries will announce the establishment of the China-Qatar Friendship Association and the Qatar-China Friendship Association, which the ambassador deemed an important step in the two sides' efforts to strengthen the friendship and co-operation between the two friendly countries.
He also stressed that the China-Qatar co-operation has made great strides over the past 30 years.
The volume of trade exchange between the two countries increased from $50mn at the beginning of the establishment of diplomatic ties to $10.3bn in 2017, growing about 200 times.
China is Qatar's third largest trading partner and second largest source of imports, while Qatar is the second largest exporter of LNG to China.
He pointed to the presence of about 200 Chinese and joint Qatari-Chinese companies in Qatar.
They work in a wide range of sectors such as engineering, contracting, information technology, trade and services, and some of them participated and participate in vital projects within the framework of Qatar National Vision 2030 and the 2022 World Cup projects.
Qatari companies for their part also operate in the Chinese market.
In the financial and investment fields, the two sides signed a 35bn-yuan currency exchange agreement in 2014 and renewed it in 2017.
In 2015, the first Renminbi clearing house in the Middle East and North Africa region was established in Qatar to serve trade and investment exchanges between the two countries.
Both the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of China have opened branches in Doha, while Qatar National Bank and Doha Bank have opened offices in China.
Investment co-operation is one of the most promising areas of China-Qatar co-operation, the Ambassador said.
He pointed out that Qatar is one of the first countries to support and express its desire to participate in the 'Belt and Road' initiative.
He noted also that it is a founding member of the Asian Investment Bank for Infrastructure, which was established in this framework at the invitation of China.
The Chinese Ambassador to Qatar talked about the bilateral relations in the field of culture, tourism and sports.
He said that the Chinese-Qatari year of culture, which was organised in 2016 and included a series of artistic performances, exhibitions and festivals, achieved great success and gave impetus to the cultural and humanitarian communication between the two countries.
He then discussed tourism and said that Qatar Airways operates 49 direct flights every week to seven Chinese cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Hong Kong, while Qatar's National Tourism Council opened three representative offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
He pointed out that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Qatar in 2017 was about 45,000 tourists, up 26% compared to 2016.
The number in 2018 exceeded 62,000, a 38% increase.
He referred to the exemption of citizens of the two countries from visa requirements, which came into effect on December 21 last year, and considered it a step that allows the citizens of the two countries to travel at any time as they want, a sign of the high level of relations between the two countries and the desire of the two sides to further develop them. In addition, there is a push for the exchange of visits, business and tourism to go to a higher level.
He pointed out that there was significant progress made in recent years in the field of education, especially in terms of exchanges of professors and students.
In the sports sector, the two countries have maintained good co-operation, with Qatar supporting China to host the Winter Olympics in 2022 while Beijing supported Qatar as the first Arab country to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, adding that the two countries can share experiences in organising major sporting events.
On co-operation in the field of counter-terrorism, the Chinese ambassador to Doha praised Qatar's active role in the fight against terrorism and its co-operation in this regard with the relevant United Nations organisations, pointing out that China and Qatar signed in 2017 a co-operation agreement in the field of security and law enforcement.
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