Interview: Chinese envoy says Belt and Road Initiative to promote Middle East peace process

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-15 16:26:05|Editor: Tian Shaohui
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Gong Xiaosheng, China's special envoy on Middle East affairs, receives an interview with Xinhua during his visit in Cairo, capital of Egypt, April 14, 2017. The Belt and Road Initiative may become China's most significant contribution to the Middle East peace process, Gong Xiaosheng said on Friday. (Xinhua/Meng Tao) 

CAIRO, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative may become China's most significant contribution to the Middle East peace process, China's special envoy on Middle East affairs said in Cairo during his recent visit to Egypt.

China seeks comprehensive solutions to the Middle East crisis, and an essential part of it will be economic restoration, where the Belt and Road Initiative will conjoin with restoration plans of regional countries, Gong Xiaosheng said in an interview with Chinese media outlets in Cairo.


"The ancient Silk Road witnessed frequent trade and cultural exchanges between the Arab world and China, which is part of the reason why the Middle East countries have been so eager to cooperate with China after the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013," Gong said.

The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, aims at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

As a senior diplomat who started his career working in Egypt almost 40 years ago, Gong hailed the robust economic and trade cooperation between the region and China.

"When I visited some Middle East countries in 1995, there were almost no Chinese commodities in the market. But seven years later I found half of the goods in an Emirati supermarket were made in China," he said, adding that the economic ties would only be more active in the future.

Furthermore, Gong said he believes Belt and Road Initiative will contribute to the Middle East peace process.

Regional countries stuck in crisis will start after-conflict restoration process sooner or later, Gong said, adding that economic issues like renovating infrastructure and creating jobs will be relevant again.

"I think the Belt and Road Initiative is highly likely to become China's most significant contribution to the Middle East peace process because it will provide the economic solution the region needs," Gong said.


Gong reiterated in the interview that China seeks a comprehensive solution to the Middle East crisis, stressing that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is "the core of the regional crisis."

"All the crises in the regions have been entangled, and it is impossible to solve one without solving the others, especially without handling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict properly," the senior diplomat explained to Xinhua.

The international community should respect the relevant United Nations resolutions and seek the political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Gong said.

Most countries in the world agree to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the Arab Peace Initiative and the two-state solution because they are the most feasible solutions on the table, Gong said.


As an emerging power, China will shoulder its due responsibilities in the Middle East but it has no selfish interests in the region, Gong said in the interview.

China is keen to see the Middle East countries regain peace and stability and achieve economic prosperity, he said.

China's Middle East policy focuses on pushing forward peace process on an equal and just basis, the Chinese envoy said.

"China always seeks to quench the fire rather than stir the flame, which is a traditional Chinese wisdom of conflict management," Gong said.

Speaking of the recent twin suicide attacks in Tanta and Alexandria in Egypt, Gong said China condemns all forms of terrorist activities and supports Egypt in combating terrorism.

"China stands together with Egypt especially during hard times," he said.


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KEY WORDS: Belt and Road