China, Arab states to enhance exchanges to mark "friendship years"

BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- China and Arab states have decided to designate 2014 and 2015 as the years of China-Arab friendship, and hold a series of friendly exchange events within the framework, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday.

Xi made the remarks when addressing the opening ceremony of the sixth ministerial conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) held in Beijing, which called on the two sides to carry forward the Silk Road spirit and deepen their cooperation.

In building the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century maritime Silk Road, China and Arab states need to rely on and promote their traditional friendship, Xi said, adding affinity between the peoples is both an important component and a crucial foundation of the building of "One Belt and One Road".

The two sides will also carry out art festivals and other cultural exchanges on a bigger scale, encourage more students to go to each other's countries for study or exchanges, and strengthen cooperation in tourism, aviation, media and publication, said Xi.

Xi said that in the next three years, China will train another 6,000 personnel of various types for Arab states, and share with Arab states China's experience in development and poverty reduction and its advanced applicable technologies.

In the coming 10 years, China will organize mutual visits by 10,000 Chinese and Arab artists, encourage and support counterpart cooperation between 200 Chinese and Arab cultural institutions, and invite 500 cultural workers and artists from Arab states to training courses in China and give them support, he said.

Around 200 guests from China and Arab states, including Secretary-general of the League of Arab States Nabil Elaraby, and foreign ministers or representatives attended the forum.