TOKYO, May 13 (KUNA) -- The fourth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum opened Thursday in north China's Tianjin, with the theme of "Deepening All-Round Cooperation for Common Development," state media reported.
At the two-day meeting, the both sides are expected to discuss upgrading their relationship to a strategic level and release an action plan for a cooperation blueprint in the next two years, according to Xinhua News Agency. Foreign ministers and officials from China and 22 Arab states, as well as Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa are to attend the meeting.
The China-Arab Cooperation Forum was set up in 2004 when Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Arab League headquarters in Cairo. The forum is designed to serve as a platform for exchanging views between China and Arab nations and promoting their mutually beneficial cooperation in politics, economy and trade, culture, technology and international affairs.
The ministerial meeting is the permanent mechanism of the forum and convenes for a regular session every other year, with the option for extraordinary sessions if necessary.
Statistics show that before the forum was set up, the Sino-Arab trade volume stood at USD 25.4 billion in 2003, followed by USD 36.7 billion in 2004, according to Xinhua. The trade volume soared to USD 132.9 billion in 2008, achieving the goal of increasing bilateral trade volume to USD 100 billion ahead of time. Besides, the two-way investment between China and the Arab countries continued to increase.
The first ministerial meeting was held in Arab League headquarters in September, 2004, with a joint declaration and an action plan adopted. The second took place in Beijing in 2006 and the third in the Bahraini capital of Manama in 2008. (end) mk.ema KUNA 131756 May 10NNNN