KUWAIT CITY, Oct 17: Chargé d’Affairs at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Kuwait, Counselor Liu Xiang, said that Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the “Belt and Road” initiative in 2013, and over the past decade, the countries along the “Belt and Road” have been working to embody the spirit of the Silk Road of peace with cooperation, openness, tolerance, mutual learning and mutual benefit.

Xiang stated, “China’s trade in goods with the Belt and Road countries doubled, from $1.04 trillion in 2013 to $2.07 trillion in 2022, with an average annual growth of 8 percent, and two-way investments between China and the Belt and Road countries exceeded $270 billion during that period.”

This contributed, he said, to stimulating investment worth nearly a trillion dollars, creating more than 3,000 cooperation projects, providing 420,000 job opportunities, and relieving about 40 million people from poverty.

He continued, “Until the end of June 2023, the Silk Road Fund had pledged investments worth about $22.04 billion, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank includes 106 members, with a total investment of $43.6 billion.”

Khaled Mahdi spoke about cultural diplomacy, stating that “cultural exchange is an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and enhances an environment of interconnection based on the idea of the initiative. Logistics is part of the initiative, but it is not only the main part. It is a global project at the level of countries around the world that seeks to create interconnection that benefits everyone.”

Liu Xiang pointed out that the construction of the Belt and Road has comprehensively advanced the development of relations between China and Kuwait. The two countries have established a strategic partnership, and China has been Kuwait’s largest trading partner for seven consecutive years, with bilateral trade reaching a record level of $31.48 billion in 2022.

The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, Dr. Khaled Mahdi, said that Chinese-Kuwaiti relations are more than distinguished, and that “Kuwait was the first country in the Middle East to respond to the Chinese President’s initiative in 2014, and this was a moral commitment to the Belt and Road Initiative, which was followed by many consultations and agreements.”

Speaking during the “High-Quality Joint Construction of the Belt and Road” symposium between China and Kuwait, Mahdi said “the recent visit of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad to China witnessed the signing of several memorandums of understanding and agreements and pointed out that “there is a question which is always asked about the extent of the seriousness of the Kuwaiti side towards entering into the initiative. It was specific and not just a comprehensive framework,” reports Al-Rai daily.

He stated, “The amended projects relate to the energy, transportation, and housing sectors, which are vital and important, within the New Kuwait Vision 2035,” he added, “This vision was developed with the Chinese side, and a joint five-year plan was developed between the two sides, which is the 2024-2028 plan to implement the projects.”

In turn, the Acting Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy, Counselor Liu Xiang, said that his country has signed cooperation documents for the “Belt and Road” initiative with more than 150 countries and more than 30 international organizations, pointing out that “a multi-layered and multi-level infrastructure network is being formed “based on a framework of six corridors, six routes, multiple countries and multiple ports.”

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