Oman and China: A strategic partnership

A joint statement by the Sultanate and the People’s Republic of China on the establishment of strategic partnership was recently issued to mark the 40th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations which began on 25 May 1978 between the two countries.
This statement, the first of its kind issued by the leaders of the two countries, marks a high assessment of the great progress and development achieved in diplomatic relations over the past 40 years.
It is no secret that Oman-China relations are not brand new, but deeply rooted in history, dating back to centuries when the Omani and Chinese civilisations left a mark on various aspects. In the past four decades, the friendship between the two countries has been strengthened and enhanced in various fields related to energy, economy, trade, culture and others, enhancing political interests and contributing to the development and common prosperity of the two countries.
China, as one of the veto-wielding countries in the UN Security Council, is the largest importer of Omani oil since oil was exported to the country, while there are significant relations in several other fields, including joint investment in technology, energy and industries.
Today, there are many commonalities between the two countries, according to the statements of Omani and Chinese officials on these relations which have been able to achieve sustained cooperation in the economic and commercial fields, while winning the Sultanate’s respect and confidence of various countries in the world towards the policies adopted in the region and the world.
China considers the Sultanate as an important country in the Middle East and Asia region as a result of their confidence in those policies as well as their approach which calls for tolerance and peace in the world. The latest statement on this issue and many other aspects, is including communication and consultation between the two countries’ leaders on international and regional issues, and their support for issues related to the independence and territorial integrity of the two countries, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs and the Sultanate’s commitment to the ‘One-China’ Policy.
Regarding the economy, many bilateral achievements have been made, and it has become a tangible presence through large joint ventures being established in the Special Economic Zone in Duqm (SEZD).
Today, China-Oman Industrial City, which is located in SEZD, is the capital of these projects with an estimated investment value of $10 billion, representing a model for cooperation in the industrial field. Although the Sultanate has become the fourth largest trading partner of China in the Arab world, tourism sector remains top priority.
The Sultanate recently issued a decision to grant non-guaranteed tourist visas to citizens of several countries, including China, which will contribute to increase in the number of Chinese tourists to the Sultanate in the coming years.
The latest statement addressed all these developments as the Sultanate welcomed the Chinese ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and signed up as key partner in this project, while accelerating its pace.
The statement also addressed cooperation in energy and technology sectors, supporting company and market trends and business principles in the two countries, provision of facilities for Chinese projects in SEZD, and expanding cooperation in infrastructure, industrial logistics, railways, ports, power plants, oil, gas, etc and boosting comprehensive development of economic and trade relations between the two countries.
This is in addition to their keen interest in driving forward financial cooperation, exploring the possibility of cooperation in the field of currency and employing the active role of the local currency in trade and investment between the two sides, as well as cooperation in the field of humanitarian, cultural, creative, security and technical communication.
This will allow the two countries to become partners in the current initiatives, which will contribute to the deepening of mutual trust and practical cooperation on the one hand and building bridges of good for all the people of the region and the rest of the world on the other hand.