KUWAIT CITY, Aug 23 (Xinhua/APP): Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said here Tuesday that China and Kuwait need to further integrate their respective development strategies for shared progress. 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 Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during his visit to the Gulf Arab country. China and Kuwait are trusted friends and genuine partners for cooperation, said Zhang, noting that China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the “Kuwait 2035” vision are highly compatible.
He called on the two sides to further integrate their respective development strategies to complement the other’s advantages and spur common development. The Belt and Road Initiative, first put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is aimed at building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road through concerted efforts of all related countries and benefiting all participants by promoting unimpeded trade, financial integration, connectivity of infrastructure and closer people-to-people exchanges. “Kuwait 2035,” or Kuwait National Development Plan, is aimed at transforming the country into a regional financial hub by 2035 via 164 strategic development projects. It also aims to increase foreign direct investment by 300 percent.
Also in the meeting, Zhang urged the two countries to expand bilateral cooperation in energy, finance, transportation, engineering contracting and other areas. Kuwait is now developing a new business hub widely known as Madinat al-Hareer, or Silk City. It also announced plans in 2015 to develop five islands off its coastlines into free trade zones. Zhang said these two projects are where the two countries can work together under the Belt and Road Initiative so as to support Kuwait’s national economic transition. For his part, Al-Sabah said China is Kuwait’s trusted partner for cooperation, adding that the two sides have maintained sound development in bilateral relationship since the establishment of diplomatic tie. He also maintained that it has been Kuwait’s persistent policy to promote cooperation with China, saying that Kuwait supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative and is willing to play an active role in it. Kuwait also supports China to play a more constructive part in global and regional affairs, the Emir added. Kuwait is the first leg of Zhang’s four-nation tour, which is also going to take him to Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Namibia.