The strengthening of Qatar’s relationship with China comes as the Gulf state battles regional isolation and promotes progress in oil and gas, infrastructure and finance

As Qatar grapples with regional isolation in its standoff with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Co-operation Council countries, it is moving closer to China as a valuable political ally and economic partner.

On 31 January, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. They agreed to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership featuring mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and common development.

Xi recalled the establishment of the strategic partnership between the two countries in 2014, saying that many consensuses reached at that time on developing bilateral relations were being implemented in joint efforts, which had brought tangible benefits to the two nations.

China is willing to enhance communication with Qatar to deepen political mutual trust, Xi says, adding that China supports Qatar in exploring a development path suitable to its own conditions.

Sheikh Tamim & President Xi
Photo: (January 31, 2019) Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani with Chinese President Xi Jinping attend welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing – China.

He said China appreciated Qatar’s firm adherence to the one-China policy, and thanked Qatar for its firm support on issues concerning China’s core interests. Xi called on the two sides to further synergise their development strategies and jointly work on the Belt and Road initiative.

The two countries have initially formed a new pattern of cooperation with oil and gas cooperation as the backbone, infrastructure construction as the focus, and finance and investment as the new growth point, Xi said.

The two sides should strengthen exchanges, share experiences and increase cooperation in international anti-terrorism and anti-extremism campaigns, Xi said.

Noting the significance of regional cooperation and stability in the Gulf for the prosperity of the region, Xi voiced China’s support for addressing differences through political and diplomatic means, and within the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) and the Arab frameworks, in order to resume unity and harmony among the Gulf states.

The Chinese side stands ready to continue playing a constructive role in accordance with the wish of the GCC countries, Xi told the Tamin.

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Responding, Sheikh Tamim said as one of the earliest countries that had become involved in the Belt and Road, Qatar looked forward to cooperating extensively with China in energy, investment, technology, infrastructure construction and other sectors.