*Sheikh Tamim, President Xi witness signing of several MoUs
*Amir expresses Qatar's willingness to invest more in China
Qatar and China on Thursday signed several memorandums of understanding giving a fresh impetus to bilateral relations.
The MoUs were signed after talks between His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
The Amir was on a two-day visit to China.
Among the MoUs is one on establishing a strategic dialogue mechanism between the governments, aimed at planning and co-ordinating bilateral relations and augmenting co-operation in important strategic projects and in all fields.
Another MoU was on co-operation in the field of training diplomats between the Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar, the China Foreign Affairs University of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese diplomatic academy.
The third was on drafting the Qatari-Chinese implementation plan of the Belt and Road Initiative between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar and the National Development and Reform Commission of China, aimed at developing a roadmap and action plan for the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.
There was also an MoU on co-operation between Qatar Free Zones Authority and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade which includes establishing mechanisms to promote continuous co-operation and co-ordination between the two sides and organise trade delegation visits.
The two sides also signed an MoU on promoting co-operation in creating business events between the Qatar National Tourism Council and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, aimed at creating the conditions for co-operation in the field of business events and encouraging the public and private sectors to invest in it.
An agreement on promoting co-operation in the infrastructure sector between the governments of Qatar and China was also signed.
Under a co-operation protocol between the China-Qatar Friendship Association and the Chinese-Arab Friendship Association a friendship committee between the two countries will be established to promote visits between the peoples and support twinning agreements between cities.
At the official talks with Xi, the Amir expressed Qatar’s willingness to invest more in China, both in infrastructure and areas of mutual interest.
Pointing out that joint investments and trade have significantly increased in the past two years, the Amir said was looking forward to increasing them, and expressed confidence in the Chinese economy and President Xi's vision and his plans for the future.
Sheikh Tamim expressed Qatar’s readiness to supply more LNG to China in the near future, while noting that a 22-year partnership was recently signed in this regard.
At the outset of the talks, Xi welcomed the Amir and his accompanying delegation. He referred to the 2014 visit of Sheikh Tamim to China, and the signing of a joint declaration on establishing strategic partnership between China and Qatar, especially in the field of energy.
Xi also recalled the Chinese Cultural Year organised in Qatar and the agreement on exempting citizens of the two countries from visa for entry, which had tangible results on the two friendly peoples and the strengthening of relations between the two countries.
Sheikh Tamim too said its events have contributed to enhancing cultural exchange between the two countries.
The Chinese leader expressed his country's aspiration for more communication and strategic co-operation to achieve the common objectives of the two countries.
He said the Amir's visit would achieve consensus on many issues and raise the level of co-operation between them. He also congratulated Sheikh Tamim on Qatar qualifying for the final of the Asian Cup football tournament.
The Amir, for his part, expressed pleasure at visiting Beijing and extended greetings to President Xi and the Chinese people on the new Chinese Year, wishing them further progress and prosperity.
Sheikh Tamim referred to his first meeting with the Chinese President in 2008, expressing his happiness in the personal friendship with Xi as well as the relations between the two friendly countries.
The Amir recalled his visit to China in 2014 and the signing of the joint declaration on establishing the strategic partnership between the two countries, out of which good and concrete results have emerged.
The two leaders discussed means of enhancing bilateral relations and strategic partnership to serve the common interests of the two friendly countries and peoples, especially in the fields of military industry, security co-operation, economy, investment and trade through the Silk Road linking China to the region, as well as finance, banking, energy, technology, culture, education, tourism, sports and youth.
They also discussed the latest developments in the region and the world, especially the Gulf crisis and China's position on the importance of resolving it through diplomatic dialogue, while supporting Qatar's sovereignty.
The talks were attended by members of the official delegation accompanying the Amir. On the Chinese side, it was attended by a number of ministers and senior officials.
Earlier, upon arrival at the Great Hall of the People, Sheikh Tamim was accorded an official reception ceremony.
The Amir also attended a luncheon banquet hosted by Xi.
Also on Thursday, the Amir met Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang .Li said bilateral relations between Qatar and China have economic, commercial and political benefits for the two countries.
The Amir hailed the development of the Qatari-Chinese relations, especially in the political, commercial and other areas, and stressed his visit will open new horizons of co-operation between the two countries.
He praised the role played by China in the region, especially in the Arab world, and looked forward to China having a greater role. Regarding the current Gulf crisis, the Amir praised China's stance, affirming that the only solution to all differences is through dialogue.
Sheikh Tamim also met the chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, Li Zhanshu. The top official said that the Chinese side attaches great importance to the Amir's visit, expressing confidence that it will take bilateral relations to new heights.
Li recalled that the 2014 meeting between Sheikh Tamim and the Chinese President helped in raising the level of the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership, while pointing out that co-operation between China and Qatar is very good, and the volume of trade exchange has increased since last year.
The chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress hailed Qatar's development which combines Arab heritage and modern civilisation and its economic diversification strategy to become a maritime and financial beacon in the Gulf region.
He also congratulated the Amir on the Qatari football team's victory in the Asian Cup, praising Qatar's rapid development in sport in recent years under the leadership of Sheikh Tamim, and looked forward to a wonderful performance of the Qatari team in the final match against Japan.
The Amir noted that relations between the two countries have developed significantly and that this visit was an appropriate opportunity to promote them.
He underlined the Chinese leadership's keenness in sport through the organisation of major events such as the 2008 Olympics and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Sheikh Tamim hailed China's co-operation with Qatar in the field of sport as there are some Chinese nationals working in the Organising Committee of FIFA 2022 World Cup Qatar.
Observing that the trade exchange between the two countries has increased over the past year-and-a-half, he expressed the hope to increase it further in the coming years.
The Amir also underlined that Qatar has investments in China and keen to find more investment opportunities.
During the meeting, they reviewed the prospects of enhancing the strategic partnership between the two friendly countries in the fields of economy and trade through the Silk Road which links China to the region, as well as the parliamentary field.
Sheikh Tamim later left Beijing. The Amir and the accompanying delegation were seen off at Beijing Capital International Airport by the Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Middle East Affairs Chen Xiaodong, Qatar's ambassador to China Dr Sultan bin Salmeen al-Mansouri, Chinese ambassador to Qatar Li Chen and members of the Qatari embassy in Beijing.
The Amir sent cables to the Chinese President and the Premier, expressing deep thanks and appreciation for the hospitality and honour accorded to him and the accompanying delegation, which reflected the depth of the strategic partnership between the two countries.
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