Qatari Ambassador Praises Strong Relations between Qatar and China

HE Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the People's Republic of China Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri praised the deep-rooted and strong relations and the strategic partnership between Qatar and China, especially in terms of the shared visions on sustainable development.

In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), HE the Qatari Ambassador said that the visit of HH the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the People's Republic of China at the beginning of this year was a complement to the visit by His Highness in 2014, which was a historic visit by all standards, stressing that the visit established a strategic partnership between the two countries through a number of bilateral agreements, whether in the cultural, financial or investment fields, as well as cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

HE the Ambassador added that recent visit opened up wider horizons for cooperation and strengthening of strategic partnership relations, where bilateral relations were strengthened further by the signing of more agreements in the field of culture and tourism, noting that the most prominent of the agreements signed was the agreement to hold a strategic dialogue between the two sides.

He underlined that the State of Qatar attaches great importance to the strategic dialogue with all countries, especially with China, as it has created more common ground and understandings and strengthened the bilateral relations in all fields.

HE the Ambassador highlighted the significance of the Qatar-China Friendship Association which will open the door to popular diplomacy, as well as sports and educational agreements along with agreements concerning Qatari investments in China and Chinese investment in Qatar.

He added that the Chinese market is a promising and stable market, noting that there is a study to strengthen the presence in the Chinese market for the opportunities it enjoys for development and investment.

On the volume of trade exchange between Qatar and China, HE Ambassador Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri said that the volume of trade exchange is increasing especially in recent years, indicating that it reached about $10 billion in 2017 and nearly $11 billion in 2018.

He added that the value of Qatari exports to China exceeds the value of imports, explaining that the State of Qatar is one of the few countries whose exports exceed the value of imports with China because China is one of the largest importers of the Qatari gas.

HE the Ambassador underlined a strong relationship between the State of Qatar and the Republic of China in the field of exporting the Qatari gas, especially in light of China's approach to sustainable development and clean energy. Qatar is among the first countries to supply gas to China, covering about 40% of China's needs, which exceeds 10 million metric tons, and this number is increasing due to the increasing and continued demand by China.

Meanwhile, Qatar's imports from China in 2018 reached $2 billion, while its annual export to China worth $9 billion and is growing, the Ambassador added.

In this context, he referred to the opening of two direct maritime routes from China to the State of Qatar for the transport of goods and consumables, noting that Qatar imports most of the needs of the Qatari market from China through two ports, one is in Shanghai and the other is in Guangzhou, via two direct routes to the port of Hamad.

On the cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, launched by HE Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, HE the Ambassador said that the State of Qatar has studied the initiative in all respects and found it to be a valuable initiative. Therefore, the State of Qatar signed an agreement with China in 2014 to cooperate in the implementation of the initiative.

The role of the State of Qatar in the initiative is not limited to joining and approving the related agreements, but rather to participating in and contributing to the implementation of this vision and initiative. The State of Qatar participated as a founder in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and has facilitated the work of Chinese banks in Qatar, HE the Qatari Ambassador said, noting that two Chinese banks are operating in Qatar - the People's Bank of China and the Commercial and Industrial Bank of China, in addition to the establishment of a currency exchange center for the (renminbi) which not only serves the State of Qatar but the Middle East and part of North Africa.

HE Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the People's Republic of China Sultan bin Salmeen Al Mansouri in his interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) pointed to the establishment of a national committee chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate in the field of the Belt and Road Initiative, in addition to establishing a committee from both sides to study infrastructure projects and what's best suited to Qatar and China in the implementation of projects, while stressing that the Qatar is active in all meetings and forums related to the initiative.

HE the Ambassador said that the initiative is based on five fundamental principles; strengthening policies, improving infrastructure, promoting trade, capital development and communication among peoples. He added that Qatar is now benefiting from this initiative, especially since there is harmony, cooperation and convergence in the visions between Qatar, China and various countries on the Silk Road.

He pointed out that in 2018, HE Chinese President Xi Jinping launched an initiative to open up China to the world and welcomes foreign investment. HE the Ambassador said that China organized the first and largest import exhibition in the same year, in which almost all countries, including the State of Qatar, participated in.

Qatar's hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the Chinese presence in the preparations related to the preparations for the tournament, HE the Ambassador said that given the Chinese companies' experience in the field of infrastructure, Qatar has attracted Chinese companies. He added that the biggest stadium to host the tournament is Lusail Stadium, which will feature the opening and closing ceremony of the tournament, was built by a Chinese company, as well as Hamad Port. He noted that there are more than 180 large and medium companies operating in Qatar, both in infrastructure projects or communications in several areas.

On the Qatari companies operating in China, he pointed out that there are joint companies operating in China, He added that the most prominent of these companies are four companies have been awarded a number of projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well as two Qatari banks working in China, Qatar National Bank and Doha Bank, which operate in Shanghai's financial district.

As for tourism and exemption from visas between the two sides and the impact on the tourism movement in the country, HE the Ambassador pointed out that the number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad in the past five years is increasing and that the number is likely to increase further during the next five years, indicating that the number may reach 500,000,000 and the Chinese people love to travel and learn about cultures.

He said that the measures taken by Qatar to exempt Chinese citizens from entry visas have an impact on the tourism movement, which has led to a 35 percent increase in the number of Chinese tourists.

HE the Ambassador pointed out that Qatari tourists coming to China are also increasing due to the similar measures taken by the Chinese government to exempt Qatari citizens from entry visas.

Qatar Airways operates from seven airports in China and has a strong demand in China to travel to several destinations in Qatar, HE the Ambassador noted, adding that Qatar Airways is well positioned to serve the needs of travelers around the world, which includes Chinese people and that it is Qatar's source of pride.

He pointed out the importance of culture for communication between the two friendly peoples, with the Chinese people being open to other cultures and like to open up and share with others their culture, a friendly, peaceful and welcoming people.

On the Chinese position on the blockade imposed on Qatar, HE the Ambassador said that the Republic of China is a firm principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries since the beginning of the blockade. He added that they believe that neutrality is a positive neutrality for the State of Qatar, for several reasons, the most important is that China is against the principle of interfering in the affairs of the internal states. It also supports the Kuwaiti mediation led by HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to resolve the dispute. China has supported this mediation by all standards and insists that this crisis must be resolved in the Gulf by dialogue and understanding between all parties.

HE the Ambassador pointed out that the State of Qatar will participate in the gardening exhibition to be held at the end of April in China and will continue to do so for four months. He emphasized that the participation of Qatar in the exhibition is due to its experience in the field of horticulture and agricultural solutions, where a large pavilion will be held in a unique way that reflects Qatar's cultural and cultural image in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipality and the Environment.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs