CHINA and Bahrain announced a significant upgrade in their relationship during a recent state visit by His Majesty King Hamad, according to Chinese Ambassador Ni Ruchi.

Addressing a Press briefing at the Chinese Embassy yesterday, Mr Ruchi noted that the visit, which coincided with the 10th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Co-operation Forum, saw the two countries establish a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” marking a milestone in bilateral relations and coinciding with the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations.

This follows 11 years since the King’s last visit to China.

Highlighting several key outcomes of the visit, the ambassador said both sides reaffirmed their commitment to mutual support on core interests, with China explicitly backing Bahrain’s sovereignty and security.

He added that during the meetings, Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his nation’s dedication to enhancing ties with Arab nations, positioning it as a cornerstone for global peace and stability, and collaborating to address contentious issues, prioritising equity and justice to maintain peace and security.

Additionally, they witnessed the signing of eight co-operation agreements during the visit, further solidifying bilateral ties.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President Xi lent support to Palestine’s bid for full UN membership and advocated for an effective international peace summit to resolve the strife.

“The escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict since last October has inflicted immense suffering on the populace. Prolonged warfare is untenable,” said Mr Ruchi articulating the Chinese position and expressing solidarity with Bahrain’s stance on the Palestinian issue.

He highlighted that China has committed to providing $69 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza and pledged an additional $3m to the UN Relief and Works Agency.

Throughout the Gaza conflict, China has consistently advocated for a ceasefire, supported the establishment of an independent Palestinian state through a two-state solution, and condemned violence against civilians.

A joint statement issued at the end of China-Arab Co-operation Forum commended Bahrain’s initiative in hosting an international peace conference and pledged continued co-operation in supporting regional tranquillity.

Cultural and people-to-people exchanges were also prioritised, with the inaugural flight of Gulf Air from Shanghai to Bahrain being fully booked, symbolising burgeoning interest in Bahrain among Chinese tourists.

“More than 90 per cent of passengers were Chinese and most of them were visiting Bahrain for the first time. Direct flights are expected to facilitate increased business, cultural, tourism and youth exchanges between the two nations,” he added.

In response to a question, Mr Ruchi said China and Bahrain have pledged to further collaborate under the Belt and Road Initiative, with agreements signed in areas like investment, infrastructure and technology.

He highlighted that the ministerial meeting marked a significant step in implementing the outcomes of the first China-Arab States Summit, focusing on building a shared future for China and Arab countries.

President Xi outlined co-operation frameworks and announced plans for the second China-Arab States Summit in 2026. The meeting adopted the Beijing Declaration and an action plan for 2024-2026, reaffirming commitments to political, economic and social co-operation.

China proposed a more dynamic approach to collaboration across innovation, finance, energy, trade and people-to-people exchanges, Ambassador Ruchi said.


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