Performers present Iraqi traditional costumes at a ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 13, 2018. (Xinhua/Khalil Dawood)
Iraq and China on Thursday held a ceremony in Baghdad to celebrate the Silk Road initiative on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Speaking at the ceremony, China's Ambassador to Iraq Chen Weiqing hailed the the Silk Road for connecting the eastern and western sides of Asia.
The road reduced the distance between the Chinese and Iraqi people, strengthened their friendship by starting friendly exchanges between the two cradles of civilization in the past and the joint development of the two countries in the present, he said.
He described the Silk Road as a "preliminary formula for economic globalization", citing it contributed to creating solid ties between China and the Arab world more than 2,000 years ago.
"In order to continue the legacy and development of the spirit of the Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched in 2013 the initiative to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, known as the Belt and Road Initiative," Chen said.
He said the initiative advocates consultation and sharing in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win, and seeks to establish closer relations of cooperation and partnership between states.
The Chinese envoy said China will seize the opportunity of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties to work together with Iraq to promote cooperation, and intensify bilateral cultural and personnel exchanges.
The trade volume between China and the Belt and Road countries has exceeded 6 trillion U.S. dollars, while Chinese investments in these countries have surpassed 80 billion dollars, creating more than 240,000 jobs.
Chen noted that Iraq is the fourth largest oil exporter to China and its third largest trading partner in the Arab world.
"The Chinese companies are involved in the construction of power stations, cement factories, oilfields and others as part of their contribution to reconstruction in Iraq," he said.
The Chinese envoy also commended Iraq for winning remarkable victories in the war against terrorism and the continued improvement in the security situation.
Such victories led the country into a new phase of building and reconstruction, providing new opportunities for further developing the China-Iraq relations, Chen concluded.
For his part, Jaber al-Jaberi, Iraqi deputy minister of culture, lauded the "deep and close historical relationship" between Iraq and China.
He note that China has "distinguished and successful cultural, intellectual, economic, social positions in the world," as the Chinese people have been walking on the Silk Road for over 2,000 years.
Jaberi said China has been praised by the world as it has not shown "claws of a frightening power," but has delivered "messages of production, innovation, creativity and giving to all humanity."
Saad Qindil, head of West Asia Department of Iraqi Foreign Ministry, told Xinhua that Iraq appreciates the Belt and Road Initiative, and has formed a committee in the secretariat of the Ministerial Council to focus on the the issue.
The ceremony, which was attended by some Iraqi parliament members, advisor of the Iraqi President and officials of the Ministry of Culture, in addition to a number of Iraqi intellectuals and artists.