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Energy cooperation bedrock of Qatar-China bilateral relations: Envoy
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Energy cooperation bedrock of Qatar-China bilateral relations: Envoy

Satyendra Pathak
Energy cooperation is the bedrock of bilateral relation between China and Qatar, Chinese ambassador to Qatar HE Zhou Jian said on Wednesday. Jian, who began his Qatar assignment just a month ago, said high-level meetings between the two countries are expected to happen in the next few months to further strengthen energy cooperation between the two countries.       
Addressing his first press conference in Doha, Jian said, “Oil and gas is the core of Qatar’s economy. While Qatar is increasing its LNG production, demand for natural gas is skyrocketing in China. As we are pursuing green, low-carbon, sustainable development to fulfill our promise in climate change, Qatar has become a natural choice for us to source our clean energy needs for a long time. At present, Qatar is China's second-largest source of LNG import. Hundreds of millions of Chinese people are using the LNG from Qatar.”
“In 2018, companies from both sides signed a new long-term contract. China is the largest growing market for natural gas, which brings Qatar new strategic opportunities. With China’s huge market of 1.4 billion people, a bright future is waiting for us,” he said.
The envoy said that China is keen on maintaining stability in the whole region as Qatar is one of the main LNG suppliers to his country.
Highlighting infrastructure cooperation between China and Qatar, he said, “Within the framework 2030 National Vision and 2022 Fifa World Cup, Chinese companies are working on a series of strategic projects in Qatar such as the Lusail Stadium, water reserves, Hamad Port, Hamad International Airport, and also 5G Communications. Chinese companies have overcome difficulties and won extensive appreciation from Qatari authorities for their speed and quality. Last year, Chinese companies signed a total of $12.94 billion in engineering contracting contracts in Qatar. Qatar is planning the free zone, an area that we have rich experience in. I think we can make our unique contributions to this project.”
Saying that finance and investment cooperation is a new starting point between the two countries, he said, "Qatar has improved its investment environment in order to build a regional financial center. China has also introduced the Foreign Investment Law, which aims for further opening up and investment promotion. In recent years, financial and investment cooperation between the two countries has achieved fruitful results. Banks of the two countries have set up branches and representative offices for each other. 
"Qatar has obtained the qualification of “RMB foreign institutional investors”. The central bank of Qatar has become the first bank in the Middle East to enter the Chinese inter-bank bond market. The two countries have signed currency swap agreements. The Doha Renminbi Clearing Center has operated well since its inception, with liquidation exceeding $100 billion.” 
People to people exchange between the two countries have also grown manifold over the years, he said.  “In 2016, the China Qatar Cultural Year was warmly welcomed by the local people. Art exhibitions such as the ‘Pearl Show’ and the Philharmonic Orchestra won the praise of Chinese people. The Qatar football team is very popular in China, and Chinese Kung Fu superstars also have many fans in Qatar. The two countries signed the mutual visa exemption agreement and a ‘trip without a plan’ has become a reality for both citizens. In 2018, the number of Chinese citizens coming to Qatar reached 62,000, and more than 3,000 Qatar citizens went to China. In the next few years, the numbers are expected to grow profoundly,” he said.
Stressing the deep and excellent relations between the two friendly countries, he said the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice during the past few months and agreed on laying the blueprints of strategic co-operation between the two countries.
The envoy stressed that he will work hard with his Qatari counterparts to take the necessary steps to implement the strong political will of the two leaders to take the mutual co-operation to higher levels in all fields.
He said that work is underway to get more top Chinese officials to visit Qatar and meet their Qatari friends to discuss further co-operation in their specific areas.
Regretting the ongoing blockade of Qatar, he said, “We regret that GCC crisis is still going on among brotherly countries. China has a strong desire for the crisis to be resolved as soon as possible. We strongly support the peaceful resolution of this issue within the GCC. China is also ready to help in resolving the issue. We will extend all our support to Qatar in protecting its sovereignty and freedom,” he said.

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