Academics from China and the Middle East held an online forum on Saturday, discussing the coronavirus pandemic and future cooperation. The Belt & Road Initiative is seen as a major growth point of Cooperation.

The webinar was organised by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the China-Africa Institute and Sharjah University of the United Arab Emirates. Nineteen scholars from the Middle East and 26 from China took part, looking for ways to fight the pandemic together.

“Chinese National Biotech Group and Group 42, a UAE Technology Company, signed an agreement to produce COVID-19 vaccine together, which is truly inspiring,” said Professor Hamid M.K. Al-Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, UAE.

“Today’s webinar is one more example of this important partnership,” he added.

Vaccine research is seen as one of the aspects that China and Arab countries should continue to work on. On June 23, China and the UAE agreed to begin phase III clinical trials of a Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccine.

China’s Middle East Envoy Zhai Jun says:

China and Middle East countries have proved the solidarity of their friendship during the pandemic, through mutual Support

“We have withstood tests and we are friends who trust each other. This result is related to our long-standing policies in this region. We have long supported justice, peace, security and development in the Middle East. They may have disagreements and disputes, but they all see us as their friend,” Zhai told.

During the 9th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum on Monday, China and Arab countries agreed to jointly fight COVID-19 and deepen cooperation in various fields, including accelerating Belt and Road cooperation. Experts at the forum celebrated this progress.

“I tried through my talk to indicate that maximising the available mechanism, namely the BRI, can save us a lot of resources, particularly in these difficult times,” said Dr. Essam Sharaf, Former Prime Minister of Egypt.

Wang Linggui, Vice Chairman of Top National Think Tank CASS, said Belt & Road Construction has met the challenge of the Pandemic in full swing.

“But I can list two figures: In spite of the COVID-19 crisis, Chinese investment in Belt and Road countries and regions increased by 11.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter this year, along with a 3.2 percent growth in trade. China’s trade figures in the first five months of this year, with many countries like Egypt, the UAE and Lebanon saw positive growth.

This proves the Belt & Road’s vitality,” he said.

China has signed cooperation documents on jointly building the Belt & Road with the Arab League and 19 Arab Countries so far.

Author: Wu Guoxiu & Liu Xiaonong
Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.