By Amna Al-Shemmari
KUWAIT, Sept 19 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah is scheduled to head for China on Wednesday on an official visit aimed at bolstering bilateral relations and broadening further the already substantial cooperation between Kuwait and Beijing.
Kuwait was the first Gulf state to establish full-scale diplomatic relations with China (1971).
The strategic Kuwait-China relationship has been evolving, serving aspirations of the two countries namely with respect of development schemes. Moreover, Kuwait was the first Arab state to ink a memorandum of understanding with China for involvement in China's strategy, "belt and road." New Kuwait 2035 development strategy has given further impetus for the country's drive to cement ties with China, with the prime goals of overhauling the Kuwaiti economy to render it diversified and sustainable; thus largely becoming in harmony with the Chinese economic strategy.
Development of the Kuwaiti-Chinese relations witnessed a major leap in 2018, when the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited the Asian nation, adding to the significance of the political-economic partnership between the two countries.
The diplomatic efforts led to concrete outcome, particularly when volume of the Kuwait-China trade exchanges soared to USD 31.48 billion in 2022.
Kuwait is the seventh top exporter of crude oil to China and there are more than 60 Chinese companies in Kuwait, contributing to 80 key projects.
The Gulf state highly values China's stand with Kuwait in the face of the 1990 Iraqi aggression and role of the Chinese firemen in putting out flames at oil wells, set ablaze by the occupiers before they withdrew from the country.
In May 2020, amid the coronavirus plight, a Chinese medical team came to Kuwait to furnish the Kuwaiti authorities with Beijing's expertise in coping with the pandemic. In March 2020, the Kuwaiti Government donated USD three million to China to assist Beijing in the efforts against the communicable virus.
At the educational level, China grants academic scholarships to Kuwaiti students and sends Chinese students to the country to study the Arabic language.
Furthermore, the Kuwaiti diplomatic mission in Beijing regularly holds iftar meals during the fasting month of Ramadhan and distributes food parcels for the needy. (end) as.rk