Broad prospects for co-op between China, Arab States

BEIJING: “The speed is 320 km/h, the operation is normal,” then it is expected to arrive at Jeddah station within 30 minutes, said the Mecca-Medina high-speed railway driver Muhammad Tariq, while focusing on the train’s operation and reporting driving conditions from time to time.
“This line, co-built by Chinese companies, has reduced the travel time between the two cities to two hours, which eased traffic pressure considerably, and even made cities along it more dynamic,” said Tariq, who has been serving as a driver for the high-speed train since the railway opened to traffic two years ago and has made hundreds of round-trips.
The changes that Tariq has witnessed are a microcosm of the current practical cooperation between China and the Gulf Arab states. During the past year, the two sides have worked steadily to advance the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and have strengthened cooperation in several areas including energy trade, engineering contracting and digitization.
The Mecca-Medina high-speed railway crosses the Arabian desert, takes the King Abdullah Economic City road through Rabigh, Jeddah and other important stations.
During the construction, Chinese companies actively promoted local employment and trained a group of local technicians. The China Railway 18th Bureau Group Co. Ltd has trained more than 400 local workers, and created more than 1,500 jobs there.
The China-Oman Industrial Park (Duqm) in Oman’s Duqm Special Economic Zone, which is currently under construction, covers various areas such as petrochemicals, building materials and e-commerce. Saleh Al-Hasani, an official at Duqm Special Economic Zone, said that once the industrial zone is completed, it will attract more foreign investment and add impetus to the Omani economic development. – Agencies