Next Destination: Jakarta Successful Visits to Malaysia & China [Archives:1998/07/Front Page]
President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s airplane has touched down in Shanghai on Saturday, February 14th. In five days, the President and the accompanying delegation will then fly to Jakarta. The days the President has spent in Malaysia have been described as ‘very successful’ in further strengthening the bilateral relations.
President Saleh called on HM the King and held official talks with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and members of his cabinet. Malaysian officials briefed the Yemeni side on the recent financial crisis – their causes and the steps taken to remedy them. The two countries also exchanged views on recent political developments in the region.
Yemen and Malaysia agreed to further expand their trade volume from its present level of US$ 350 million per year. The President also officially inaugurated the newly-opened Yemeni embassy in Kuala Lampur. During his visit to Malaysia, the President met several representatives of the Yemeni community there. He also met the Arab ambassadors to Kuala Lumpur, and informed them of the outcome of his talks with Malaysian officials.
On another level, Yemen and China have now agreed to execute a number of private joint industrial and commercial projects, many of them to be based in the Aden Free Zone. “China has important relevant experience in free zones (called Special Administrative Zones in China). We know how to contribute to the growth of Aden,” said a senior Chinese official.
The Chinese have also agreed to increase their contribution of official development assistance. The main areas of focus are health, technical/vocational education, and road/bridge construction. The number of Chinese doctors and medical staff working in Yemen will be doubled, the number of scholarships for Yemenis to do technical training in China will be increased, and a contract for the construction of a bridge over the intersection of Zubairi and Abdul-Moghni Street has been concluded. The project’s cost, some US$3.6 million, is a gift from Chinese people to Yemen.
Yemeni businessmen have also struck many deals with their Chinese counterparts. In addition to joint investments, 18 trade agreements have also been concluded. President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, and their assistants, are to hold many extensive talks on regional and international political issues.
In Indonesia, the Yemenis will seek to strengthen cooperation with Jakarta in different fields. The two sides will also mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Yemeni businessmen say that trade and business with the 3 countries will witness visible growth. “The price levels for quality goods in those three countries are at least 30% lower than the average world level. We have also signed agreements to avoid double taxation,” they said. The President and the accompanying delegation are due back on 21st February.