Experts eye enhanced GCC-Asian cooperation


The symposium, themed "reality of GCC-Asian relationship – opportunities and challenges," has been organized by KU’s Center of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (CGAPS).

The State of Kuwait is keen on opening up new horizons with the friendly Asian nations through the top-level visits’ exchanges, Dr. Abdullah Al-Ghanem, professor of political science at KU said in a lecture.

"Kuwait’s pursuit of enhanced cooperation with the Asian countries is evidenced by the His Highness the Amir’s visits to Asian countries, the last of which is the visit to China on May 10-13," he recalled.

HH Sheikh Sabah made several Asian tours between 2004 and 2006 when he was prime minister.

HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has also visited several Asian countries.

"Such visits laid the groundwork for stronger ties in all domains particularly the economic one," Al-Ghanem added.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Kuwait’s Diplomatic Center for Strategic Studies (DCSS) Abdullah Bishara said the GCC-Asian relationship used to be confined to the political domain, but now expanded to cover economic and commercial fields.

The social relations between the two sides have also grown due to the movement of labor, he said, noting that the Indian expatriate workers make up a large percentage of the labor force in the GCC countries.

The Kuwaiti-Japanese ties date back to the early days of Kuwait’s independence in 1961. China established ties with Kuwait later on, Bishara noted.

On his part, Ambassador Khalid Al-Meghamis, acting director of Asia Affairs Division of the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry, said there are huge potential of Kuwaiti-Chinese ties.

"The bilateral ties have kept growing steady since the two countries forged diplomatic 38 years ago," he pointed out.

The two countries have signed a total of 29 agreements over the last years, most important of which is the memorandum of understanding on launching an oil refinery in China. "The document was singed during HH the Amir’s recent visit to China," Al-Meghamis underscored.

Kuwait’s decision to join the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in 2004 manifests the country’s desire to strengthen ties with the Asian countries, he said, noting that Kuwait would host the ACD meeting in 2011.

Dr. Mohammad Al-Sayed Selim, professor of political science at KU, asserted the GCC countries’ need to diversify their cooperation partners in order to strengthen their own negotiating force.

The GCC and Asian countries have a lot in common and need to form strategic partnership based on common interests, he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *