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Yemeni diplomats study in China: Hoping for deepening China-Yeman Cooperatioin


04 April 2019 | By Hu Zhenqing, translated by Xu Chendi | The Paper

  • Group Photo

    The 6th Workshop for Officials from Arab States held by Center for China and Arab States Reform and Development Studies

  • Counsellor Adel speaking

    Counsellor Adel delivering a speech at the closing ceremony of the workshop

  • Yemeni diplomatsYemeni diplomats taking photos in the Bund

    Photo by Zhao Jing

  • Yemeni diplomats taking selfies in the old city of Yangzhou

    Photo by Zhao Jing

F

rom Mar. 9 to Mar. 17, 30 diplomats from the Republic of Yemen came to China to participate in the 6th Workshop for Officials from Arab States held by Center for China and Arab States Reform and Development Studies (the Center). The main content of the workshop includes China's foreign policy, ethnic and religious policies, experience of reform and opening up policy, as well as the China-Arab cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative and China-Yemen cooperation in production capacity.

"Similar to Shanghai, Aden, the temporary capital of Yemen, is not only a picturesque coastal city but also the economic center of the country." Adel Hamoud Hamoud Al-Sheikh, deputy representative of Yemeni Foreign Minister and counsellor for Economic Affairs in the Embassy of Yemen in Germany, said proudly in an interview with The Paper.

From the Maritime Silk Road to the Belt and Road Initiative

As counsellor for Economic Affairs, Adel is no stranger to China which has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, as he has been to Beijing on a personal trip. This time, however, he still marveled at the enormous changes taking place in China after visiting two places in Shanghai and learning how the reform and opening up was implemented in the Pudong District. "I have been to New York, but after coming to Shanghai, I prefer Shanghai, because Shanghai is a typical example of cities featuring open development. The brilliant economic achievements Shanghai or even China has accomplished in a shorter period of time than developed countries are related to the government's excellent governance capacity and administrative capacity of implementing the plan."

In fact, China is no stranger to Aden, which has been an important port of the Maritime Silk Road since ancient times. Aden was called "Adan" in the Ming Dynasty, when the Zheng He sent a diplomatic mission to Adan during the naval expeditions. The mission were warmly welcomed by the king of Adan, and they purchased treasures there. In modern times, Aden is still an important trading node between West Asia and East Africa, and the world-famous Mocha coffee beans are exported through the Port of Aden.

When it came to the current situation of Yemen, Counsellor Adel said that his hometown Sana'a, capital of Yemen, has been occupied by the Houthi armed group, and for this reason he has been away from Sana'a for four years. Due to the war, the domestic infrastructure in Yemen has been seriously damaged. For example, power stations in many cities have been bombed, paralyzing public services such as medical care and education. At the same time, Yemen is facing a shortage of drinking water due to the lack of water supply and sewage treatment facilities.

However, according to Xinhua News Agency, the situation in Yemen has improved, as the Yemeni government and the Houthi armed group reached an agreement on the important issues such as ceasefire and exchange of prisoners of war through the mediation of United Nations in December last year. The ceasefire agreement has undoubtedly brought a glimmer of hope for peace to the war that has lasted for four years.

Counsellor Adel also has confidence in the reconstruction of Yemen after the war and in China-Yemen cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative. He emphasized that China and Yemen has a long history of cooperation in energy, infrastructure, vocational training, education and medical care. As early as 1959, China signed an agreement with North Yemen to build the Yemen-Hudaydah Highway, and sent a professional team to Yemen to guide the construction. In addition, China and Yemen also reached a cooperation agreement to build a mill of cotton spinning, printing and dyeing in Sana'a, which was then the largest industrial project in Yemen, and the largest textile mill in the Middle East.

Since 1966, China has been sending medical team to Yemeni, with the total number of people reaching 3,500 so far. At the same time, China has also built a number of medical facilities such as the Taiz Revolutionary Comprehensive Hospital and the Sana'a Maternal Hospital. In the late 1980s, teachers in SISU’s Arabic language department went to Sana'a Technical School and Taiz Technical School to work as translators for technical instructors. In November 2013, Yemeni President Hadi visited China and reached a cooperation agreement with China on infrastructure construction, including the extension of the Port of Aden and the construction of two new power plants with a total installed capacity of 5,000 MW.

Yemen Expecting China to Guide Yemen to Promote Development

Counsellor Adel was deeply impressed by some enterprises in Shanghai, the high-speed train and the old city and the new city of Yangzhou. He said that in the future, China and Yemen should continue to cooperate under the Belt and Road initiative in energy, infrastructure, vocational training, education and medical care to promote post-war reconstruction in Yemen.

Due to the civil war, many power grids in Yemen have been damaged. Consequently, a lot of infrastructures are unable to operate for lack of stable power supply. More than 6,000 kilometers of roads in Yemen, as well as the Port of Aden, Sana'a International Airport and Aden International Airport are in urgent need of repairing. Schools and hospitals throughout Yemen also needs to be rebuilt.

Counsellor Adel pointed out that Yemen is a vast market with a population of nearly 30 million. China’s participation in the post-war reconstruction of Yemen is beneficial not only to the Yemeni people, but also to the Chinese people. As the saying goes, "Give people fish and you feed them for a day. Teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime." He hoped that China, besides expanding its investment in Yemen in the future, can export more technical talents to Yemen and guides Yemen to carry out vocational training, which can accelerate the reconstruction of Yemen after the war by creating a large number of employment opportunities. At the same time, it can also promote upgrading of technology in Yemen and help Yemen achieve sustainable development.

"By means of the workshop, Arab officials have had a deeper understanding of China's pioneering experience of reform and opening up, which will help to enhance their governance capacity and international competitiveness. I hope that in the future, participants of the workshops can include people from all walks of life, thus promoting all-round cooperation between China and Arab States under Belt and Road initiative,” said Counsellor Adel.

The Center was established in April 2017. It is hosted by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Education and Shanghai Municipal People's Government, and is organized by SISU. In the past two years, the Center has held six workshops for officials from Arab countries, and 167 senior Arab officials have participated in the workshops. Last year, the Center held a workshop on Syrian studies. On July 10, 2018, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, where he clearly pointed out that: "The Center I initiated is working well, and it has become a platform for sharing experience in reform and opening up, and governance. In the future, the Center should be made bigger and stronger to provide more intellectual support for both sides. " 

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading