RIYADH, March 26 (Xinhua) — Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has unveiled a China-proposed five-point initiative on achieving security and stability in the Middle East.
“The Middle East was a highland of brilliant civilizations in human history. Yet, due to protracted conflicts and turmoil in the more recent history, the region descended into a security lowland,” Wang said Wednesday in an interview in Riyadh with Al Arabiya TV channel.
“After all, the Middle East belongs to the people of the region. For the region to emerge from chaos and enjoy stability, it must break free from the shadows of big-power geopolitical rivalry and independently explore development paths suited to its regional realities,” Wang said.
“It must stay impervious to external pressure and interference, and follow an inclusive and reconciliatory approach to build a security architecture that accommodates the legitimate concerns of all sides,” he added.
“The world cannot enjoy real tranquility if the Middle East keeps suffering from instability,” Wang said. “The international community should neither overstep its responsibility nor simply sit by and look on. The right thing to do is to fully respect the will of regional countries and contribute to stability and peace in the Middle East.”
During the interview, Wang said, “As we speak, COVID-19 is still spreading in the region, turbulence persists, and hotspot issues are evolving amid twists and turns. The region is again at a crossroads.”
Against this backdrop, Wang said, China first called for advocating mutual respect.
“The Middle East is home to unique civilizations which have cultivated unique social and political systems. The characteristics, models and paths of the Middle East must be respected,” he said.
“It is important to change the traditional mindset and see Middle East countries as partners for cooperation, development and peace, instead of perceiving the region through the lens of geo-competition,” he added.
“It is important to support Middle East countries in exploring their own paths of development, and support regional countries and their peoples in playing a major role in pursuing political settlement of such regional hotspot issues as Syria, Yemen and Libya,” he said.
“It is important to promote dialogue and exchanges among civilizations to achieve peaceful coexistence of all ethnicities in the Middle East,” he noted. “China will continue to play its constructive role to this end.”
Second, Wang noted, China proposed upholding equity and justice.
“Nothing represents equity and justice in the Middle East more than a sound solution to the question of Palestine and earnest implementation of the two-state solution,” he said. “We support active mediation by the international community toward this objective and holding an authoritative international meeting on this matter when conditions are ripe.”
In its presidency of the United Nations Security Council this May, China will encourage the Security Council to fully deliberate on the question of Palestine to reaffirm the two-state solution, Wang said.
“We will continue to invite peace advocates from Palestine and Israel to China for dialogue. We also welcome Palestinian and Israeli representatives to China for direct negotiations,” he added.
Wang said China also urged achieving non-proliferation. Based on the merits in the evolution of the Iranian nuclear issue, he said, relevant parties need to move in the same direction with concrete actions, and discuss and formulate the roadmap and timeframe for the United States and Iran to resume compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“The pressing task is for the U.S. to take substantive measures to lift its unilateral sanctions on Iran and long-arm jurisdiction on third parties, and for Iran to resume reciprocal compliance with its nuclear commitments, in an effort to achieve early harvest,” he added.
“At the same time, the international community should support efforts by regional countries in establishing a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,” he noted.
China, Wang noted, also appealed for jointly fostering collective security. “In promoting security and stability in the Middle East, the legitimate concerns of all parties should be accommodated,” he said.
“It is important to encourage equal dialogue and consultation, mutual understanding and accommodation and improved relations among Gulf countries,” he told the media. “It is imperative to resolutely combat terrorism and advance deradicalization.”
During the interview, Wang said China proposes holding in China a multilateral dialogue conference for regional security in the Gulf region to explore the establishment of a Middle East trust mechanism.
“We may start with such subjects as ensuring the safety of oil facilities and shipping lanes, and build step by step a framework for collective, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in the Middle East,” he said.
Finally, Wang noted accelerating development cooperation. “Enduring peace and security in the Middle East requires development, cooperation and integration. It is necessary to come together to defeat the coronavirus and achieve economic and social recovery as soon as possible,” he said.
“It is important to help post-conflict countries rebuild, support greater diversity in the economic growth of oil producing countries, and assist other Middle East countries in achieving development and revitalization, in light of the resource endowments of different countries in the region,” he added.
Wang noted that China will continue to hold the China-Arab Reform and Development Forum and the Middle East Security Forum to increase the sharing of governance experience with Middle East countries.
China, he said, has signed documents on Belt and Road cooperation with 19 Middle East countries and carried out distinctive collaboration with each of them.
He added that China is working with all regional countries in fighting COVID-19, and it will deepen vaccine cooperation in light of the needs of regional countries and discuss with them trilateral vaccine cooperation with Africa.
As it fosters a new development paradigm, Wang said, China is ready to share with Middle East countries its market opportunities, work with Arab countries to actively prepare for the China-Arab states summit, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and expand new areas of growth such as high and new technologies.
“We also look forward to early conclusion of a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council,” he added.
“China is prepared to stay in close touch with all sides on the five-point initiative, and work closely to promote peace, security and development in the Middle East,” Wang said.