Gulf Crisis: China calls for unity, harmony in region

Chinese President Xi Ping Thursday urged Gulf Cooperation Council members to cultivate unity and harmony as he welcomed Qatar’s ruler whose country has been embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, since June 2017.

President Xi, welcoming the Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, said regional cooperation was an important basis for prosperity in the Gulf region, Chinese state media reported.

The Gulf region has been cracked by the 18-month diplomatic rift, which erupted after the Saudi-led camp accused the gas-rich country of supporting terrorism and the group’s regional foe, Iran.

Qatar denied the charges and castigated the four for launching a smear campaign against its sovereignty.

China has stayed out of the crisis but maintained good ties with the various protagonists. President Xi reportedly offered China’s help to defuse the crisis.

China supports the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council to seek an “appropriate resolution to disputes and contradictions via political and diplomatic means, to return unity and harmony between Gulf and Arab countries”, Xi said.

“China is willing to continue to play a constructive role according to the wishes of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries,” Xi added.

Qatar has become a major trade partner in the region for the second world largest economy. The tiny Gulf country according to its ruler is willing to pump investment into the Chinese economy.
“We are ready to have bigger investments in China, in infrastructure or in any other field we see as important for us,” al Thani said.

“We are happy to provide China with liquid gas and we are ready to provide China with more in the near future…”

Qatar is set to supply China with 600,000 of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for a period of five years under an agreement signed late last year.

The Gulf country announced recently that it bought 5 per cent stakes of China’s second largest state-run airline, China Southern Airlines. The acquisition will help Qatar Airways to gain access to China’s fast-growing travel market.

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