KUWAIT: HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah will head to China on Wednesday on an invitation by President Xi Jinping aimed at bolstering bilateral relations and broadening further the already substantial cooperation between Kuwait and Beijing. HH the Crown Prince will also attend the opening of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Kuwait was the first Gulf state to establish full-scale diplomatic relations with China in 1971. The strategic Kuwait-China relationship has been evolving, serving aspirations of the two countries, namely with respect to development schemes. Moreover, Kuwait was the first Arab state to ink a memorandum of understanding with China for involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The New Kuwait 2035 development strategy has given further impetus for the country’s drive to cement ties with China, with the prime goals of overhauling the Kuwaiti economy to render it diversified and sustainable; thus largely becoming in harmony with the Chinese economic strategy. Development of Kuwaiti-Chinese relations witnessed a major leap in 2018, when the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the Asian nation, adding to the significance of the political and economic partnership between the two countries.
The diplomatic efforts led to concrete outcome, particularly when volume of the Kuwait-China trade exchanges soared to $31.48 billion in 2022. Kuwait is the seventh largest exporter of crude oil to China, and there are more than 60 Chinese companies in Kuwait, contributing to 80 key projects. The Gulf state highly values China’s stand with Kuwait in the face of the 1990 Iraqi aggression and role of Chinese firemen in putting out flames at oil wells set ablaze by the occupiers before they withdrew from the country.
In May 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Chinese medical team came to Kuwait to furnish Kuwaiti authorities with Beijing’s expertise in coping with the pandemic. In March 2020, the Kuwaiti government donated $3 million to China to assist Beijing in the efforts against the virus. At the educational level, China grants academic scholarships to Kuwaiti students and sends Chinese students to the country to study the Arabic language. Furthermore, the Kuwaiti diplomatic mission in Beijing regularly holds iftar meals during the fasting month of Ramadan and distributes food parcels to the needy. – KUNA