China has just issued a policy paper to outline its official vision for China-Arab ties. The “Arab Policy Paper” released Wednesday is the first of its kind. China sees energy cooperation as the major factor in its approach to the region.
According to China’s “1 plus 2 plus 3” formula for China-Arab ties, energy cooperation will be the “core” of the relationship. Construction of infrastructure and facilitating trade and investment will be the “wings” supporting that core. The “3” refers to “three breakthroughs” a wish list for future cooperation in nuclear energy, new and clean energy, and aerospace. China’s “Belt and Road” initiative will serve as the framework for all these exchanges.
On more general trade issues, China promises to complete negotiations on a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council. The policy paper also supports “the entry of more non-oil products from Arab states into the Chinese market.” China’s proposed security cooperation is set in the context of anti-terrorism.
Some goals mentioned include working to “establish a long-term security cooperation mechanism, strengthen policy dialogue and intelligence information exchange, and carry out technical cooperation and personnel training.” On people-to people exchanges, the paper notes that "China will promote exchanges between different religions advocate religious harmony and tolerance, explore cooperation on eradicating extremism."