The First China-Arab States BeiDou Cooperation Forum Successfully Held, Boosting the Belt and Road Initiative

The Statement of the 1st China-Arab States BeiDou Cooperation Forum was signed by China Satellite Navigation System Management Office and Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization on May 24 in Shanghai, taking a solid step forward for the cooperation in the field of satellite navigation between the two countries.

The 1st China-Arab States BeiDou Cooperation Forum was held on the same day in Shanghai. More than 200 attendees participated the forum, among which are more than 80 representatives from the 21-member League of Arab States and other international organizations.

Wang Li, chairman of the China Satellite Navigation Committee, said that China and the Arab countries are all developing countries, with one quarter of the world's population and one sixth of the world's geographical area. The Arab States are the geopolitical centre of the Belt and Road initiative, which has a broader and more urgent need for the study of space and time - one of the basic attributes of human society. Wang pointed out that the Beidou system will be able to provide positioning and navigation services to the countries alongside the Belt and Road region including Arab states starting at the end of 2018.

China has maintained regular contact since 2014 with Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Algeria, as well as with regional organizations such as the Secretariat of the League of Arab States and the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization, to discuss the promotion, personnel training, joint research and development of the Beidou system.

Mohamed Ben Amor, secretary-general of the information organization, said the organization has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the China Satellite Navigation System Management Office and a joint center of excellence for the Beidou system will be opened in November in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, which will serve Arab states through personnel training and technological research.

The two sides have pledged to strengthen their communication and collaboration in satellite navigation and to bring Beidou-based services to Arab states to enhance social and economic development, according to the statement.

The statement highlights that cooperative projects based on the requirements and priorities of Arab states will be created, and joint efforts will be made to employ the Beidou system in a variety of sectors in the Arab world, such as transportation, land mapping, surveying, agriculture and public security, the statement said. China will assist Arab states in boosting the development of satellite navigation.

The two sides have also planed to hold the second China-Arab States BeiDou Cooperation Forum in 2019 in the Arab countries, practicing the "Silk Road spirit" , and comprehensively promoting the pragmatic cooperation of the two sides in satellite navigation.