Commentary: by Xinhua writer Luo Jun
Source: Xinhua | 2016-01-18 10:05:12 | Editor: huaxia
China's Constructive Engagement In Middle East Promotes Stability, Development
BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The choice of the Middle East as the destination for Chinese President Xi Jinping's first overseas visit in 2016 bears great significance, as China seeks to boost constructive engagement with the region to help it reestablish stability.
President Xi is set to put forward China's views on and proposals for the Middle East issue during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran starting on Tuesday, all of which are representative and influential countries in the region and long-time good friends of China.
Having achieved rapid economic and social development on an independent path with Chinese characteristics and the reform and opening up policy, China has success experiences in peaceful development to share with its Middle East friends.
To China, much is at stake on this historic visit, as more and more regional and global issues, especially terrorism and extremism, have an increasing impact on China. Meanwhile, a Middle East slipping into conflicts, turmoil and instability brings high risk and threat to China's national interests and security.
Beijing is expecting to cooperate with these influential countries to help restore peace and stability in the Middle East, and to elevate regional development through joint construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as well as through mechanisms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Some Western political figures and media reports have misread China's role in the region as a "free rider" or exploiter of oil resources.
Such remarks are shallow and short-sighted, missing the big picture of China's long-term presence in the region.
Prophet Mohammed once said, "Seek knowledge, even it's as far away as in China."
In deed, China's shared destiny with the Middle East goes far back beyond the thriving oil business in the 20th century to more than 1,000 years before the birth of the United States.
Over 1,400 years ago, during China's prosperous Tang Dynasty, the ancient Silk Road, filled with merchants and goods, greatly facilitated exchanges among different civilizations and benefited peoples along the routes linking China and the Middle East.
To honor history and to innovate for common prosperity, China has brought up the Belt and Road initiative to revive the mutually beneficial trade corridors.
China's Middle East policy is deeply rooted in its historical interaction and relationship with the region. Whoever compares it with the mindset of Western colonialism is absurd and needs a history lesson.
Peace and stability, key to China's fast growth, is also critical to the healthy development of Middle East countries. President Xi's visit will surely demonstrate China's firm support for its old friends.