By Dr. Eng. Mohammed Darsi Abdul-Rahman Nedham
May 14, 2005 - Vol.VIII Issue 19
It is well-known that Yemen and China have always
enjoyed a close relationship, especially in the areas of trade and
education. The history of this great economic and political
relationship goes back a long way, with sources mentioning a Chinese
presence in Yemen as early as the sixth century as they brought silk
and pottery from over land and sea, yet it has deepened even further
over the past five years.
During the tenth century Aden was an important gateway
to China. In the fifteenth century, Captain Jenkh Kha visited Aden
three times, and Yemeni rulers also sent missionaries to China. The
People's Republic of China, founded on October 1, 1949, has preserved
the Yemeni-Chinese relationship. The Yemeni-Chinese diplomatic
relationship started in 1956.
On October 6, 1962, China recognized the Yemeni
Republican regime after the revolution on September 26. The Chinese
mission which was in Yemen before the revolution turned into an
embassy early the following year. China supported the Yemeni
revolution during the days of the blockade of Sana'a, declaring that
the people and government of China supported the people and government
of Yemen, in their struggle to preserve national sovereignty and
independence. It is clear that this continuous development in
Yemen-China relations is due to Chinese policies.
As mentioned above, the Yemeni-Chinese diplomatic
relationship started in 1956. Since the establishment of diplomatic
relations 49 years ago, the Yemeni-Chinese relationship has developed
Chinese workers in Yemen always receive a warm welcome
everywhere they go by the Yemeni people and authorities. In Sana'a,
Aden or Taiz, in almost every Yemeni market, you can buy something
Chinese - cloth, rice, radios and cooking pots. In recent years, our
two countries have continuously strengthened mutual political trust,
gathered momentum in economic cooperation and trade, and witnessed
rapid progress in other fields such as international affairs.
So, if we are going to look deeply into Yemeni-Chinese
relations, we find that they rest on the following:
1. Mutual understanding.
2. A great reservoir of mutual goodwill.
3. Understanding across the whole range of issues - bilateral,
regional and global.
1. The primary objectives of any visits from either
side at a high political level are:
a. To further strengthen friendship.
b. To strengthen and expand trade and cooperation
c. To continue the process of ongoing consultations on matters of
2. To discuss common perspectives and aspirations
3. To share views right across the board on issues which interest both
What does China mean to Yemen and vice-versa? Based on my simple
reading, knowledge and research on the Yemeni-Chinese relationship, I
found that Yemen must look upon China in view of the following facts:
1. China now is one of the fastest growing economies
in the world.
2. China's development is one of the greatest success stories of our
3. China is on the rise because of her glaring success.
4. China has proved that she cannot be ignored by any developing
5. China is growing at a period when the world is attentive and
6. Momentum is on China’s side and it would be a mistake not to
7. China has adroitly used its resources and leadership to establish
itself in the world
8. China recently became the number one consumer of world resources.
9. China’s good public relations and expertise have endeared her to
Arab nations, especially Yemen.
10. China has no issues of conflict with Yemen.
11. There are lessons that Yemen really need to learn from China.
12. China is a true friend and always makes extra efforts for the poor
because she was once in the same situation
13. China is not the type of country that will take advantage of
14. China has always been Yemen's best economic partner and hope to
continue to be for many years to come.
15. China's 1.3 billion people would be a good market for Yemeni
At the same time I believe that China should
look upon Yemen in the light of the following facts:
1 Yemen has a great people, who work hard so and can
learn quickly from the Chinese.
2 Yemen has a wise leadership and a strong team of highly qualified
specialists, who are ready not just to open their hearts but also
their minds to China, the Chinese and the Chinese Scientific
3 Yemen is a very important strategic location on the south-west
corner of the Asian continent, which is significant for China located
on the south-east corner of the Asian continent. If we looked at the
Asian continent (or the Asian continents plus the European continent)
as a chess board, Yemen and China would be the castles on the board,
representing black and white, carrying significance not just for the
two countries but also the differing colors of the human race from
4 Yemen surprises the whole world with its hidden treasures, the same
as China. They both mean a lot to each other, human civilization and
5 Yemen still has untapped resources, which makes it a place of
interest for China as a net importer of oil. It is known that during
the last few years several indicators have begun to show that China's
oil strategy is moving in this direction. In recent years (1993-1998)
China's main oil import partners have been Oman, Yemen, Iran, Saudi
Arabia, Russia, Indonesia and Angola. Based on my doctoral research
study on Yemeni geology (See Chapter 1 of my study entitled, "A New
View of Yemeni Geology Based on a New Solution to the Most Chaotic
Yemeni Geological Problems.”) made in 2002 at Jilin University, China,
I proved that China is the largest importer of Yemeni crude oil. This
is just one example of how Yemen can serve China and vice-versa.
6 Yemen plays a unique and positive role in:
a. Resolving any Arabian conflicts through mediation.
b. Promoting the integration process.
c. Enhancing inter-Arab cooperation.
d. Facilitating the Yemen-Horn of African Countries dialogue and other
regional and international affairs.
For these reasons the Arab and Islamic World, China
and the whole of international society are highly appreciative of
Yemen’s role and look forward to cooperating with Yemen.
The impact of relations with China will be extremely
productive. We in Yemen are ready to work with China, in the spirit of
sincere friendship, reciprocity, mutual support and orienting towards
the future, to consolidate and deepen the mutually beneficial
cooperation in various fields and constantly push forward the
In recent years, under the leadership of President Ali
Abdullah Saleh, the government and people of Yemen have been actively
facilitating national reconciliation, making efforts to maintain
social stability, vigorously promoting social and economic reform, and
have made great progress in all undertakings. The aforementioned acts
make all leaders of the world look to Yemen with great respect.
Here, I would like to ask YOU (Yemeni Readers) the
1. Do you think Yemen can learn a lot from China?
2. Would you like to see Yemeni goods flood Chinese market in the near
3. Is it true that Yemen's political relationship with China is
improving by the day?
4. Do you think further work on exchanging our highly-qualified young
scientists and experts with China is the best way to achieve
cooperation in other fields?
5. What opportunities are there to develop and nurture our homegrown
talent, based on our relationship with China?
6. Do you think we should work together with China to promote our own
7. Do you think bilateral ties with China could be a steppingstone for
Yemen to improve economically?
8. Do you think Yemen can learn from China about how to develop a
And at the same time, I would like also to ask
YOU (Chinese Readers) the following questions:
1. Do you think China and Yemen could be a profitable
union for both parties in the near future?
2. Will China willingly teach Yemen the secrets of her success?
3. If Yemen is going to open up businesses in China, do you think many
people will buy Yemeni products?
4. Do you think Chinese leaders should encourage real Yemeni
investments in China?
5. Do you think China should build a strong relationship with Yemen
and all other Arab Countries?
6. Do you think East or West Chinese products are the best?
7. When will Chinese citizens buy Yemeni goods?
Conclusions and Recommendations:
1. In my opinion, to improve our relationship with the
People’s Republic of China, both governments should take the following
a. Regularly and closely consult each other.
b. Concert on all major issues in international forums.
c. Work in total concert, so as to promote progress towards our common
d. Build a mutual relationship in the fields of science and
technology, trade and commerce, cultural, social, economic and
political matters as well as academic relations.
2. To activate the relationship between Yemen and China and the
opposite, I would like to invite all the heads of both government
sides' local press, radio and television channels to work with my
a. To organize an annual Yemeni-Chinese meeting every year held in
b. To invite interested parties from both sides to join the meeting.
c. To organize a prize for the best paper, article or, suggestions and
recommendations to improve the relationship between our countries.
d. To publish a questionnaire on the Yemeni-Chinese Relationship in
the Yemen Observer newspaper and its equivalent in China for Yemeni
and Chinese readers to complete and return with added comments. The
main aim of this is to be in touch with the public in Yemen and China.
3. Both governments must work harder on improving technical, economic
and scientific cooperation through the following activities:
a. Exchange of personnel for training purposes (for example, in
technical schools, institutes, colleges, universities and other
scientific research centers; factories and other production centers,
and the proffering of more grants for scholarships).
b. Exchange of expert knowledge (through visits and with a view to
lecturing and instructing).
c. Exchange of technical documentation and necessary equipment
(including the exchange and giving of corresponding information).
d. Exchange of information, books and scientific publications.
e. Cooperation in scientific research work between scientific
institutes and bodies.
f. Setting up of joint industrial ventures.
g. Cooperation of production enterprises in finding the most suitable
technical solution and attaining increased productivity.
h. Asking all organs appointed to cooperate technically, economically
and scientifically, to keep in touch with each other, here in Sana'a
or in Beijing, on all questions related to the realization of the
approved programs of technical, economic and scientific cooperation
and direct their monthly and annual reports to their heads in the
i. Review progress made to establish periodically the quality and
amount of mutual technical, economic and scientific cooperation.
4. At the same time we must:
a. Find a way to introduce Yemen Studies in China.
b. Create the opportunity to start parallel studies between Yemen and
China, possibly through a Yemen-China Center.
c. Work hard on making an effort to expand the academic exchanges at
the private level.
d. Promote diplomatic relations and academic exchanges at both private
level and governmental levels.
e. Build on the lesson of China’s scientific revolution and expand
academic exchanges with China through parallel studies.
Yemeni and Chinese leaders need to discuss the coming
together of the two nations as part of south west and south east Asian
cooperation (in Sana'a or in Beijing rounds) and focus especially on
issues related to globalization and WTO negotiations to safeguard
In my opinion any economic dealings with China will be
sincere and respectful. I particularly admire the Chinese for their
pride in the scientific revolution and their drive for
self-sufficiency. As a Yemeni, I would like to commend China on its
excellent work and endless efforts to return peace to Yemen and also
for helping many other countries improve their economy.
Finally I would like to reiterate that China is an
important economic partner of Yemen and one of the fastest growing
economies in the world. It is a country which we believe has a
tremendous future to look forward to.
* Dr. Eng. Mohammed Darsi Abdulrahman Nedham is a specialist in
Petroleum Geology. Now he is a member of the Joint Consultative
Committee (JCC) dealing with Yemen Hunt Oil Company. He graduated from
Jilin University, China in 2002 as a Doctor of Science and began his
professional career by working as a petroleum engineer, geologist in
the Petroleum Exploration and Production Board (Aden Branch). His
scientific interest centers on Geological Research History, Earth
Science software application and basin-modeling problems.
References : For more detailed information about the
Yemeni-Chinese relationship, the following bibliography and Web Site
Sources are essential:
1 Daum, Warner. 1988. "From the Queen of Saba to a
Modern State: 3000 Years of Civilization in Southern Arabia." Yemen.
2 Garbini, Giovanni. 1988. "Semitic and Indo-European
Languages." Yemen: 3000 Years of Art and Civilisation in Arabia Felix.
3 New Traveler's Guide to Yemen. 1987. Bhrain:
4 Saint-Prot, Charles. _____. Happy Arabia: From
Antiquity to Ali Abdullah Salih, The Yemeni Unifier. _________Bissan.
5 Qafisheh, Hamdi A. 1990. Yemeni Arabic‡T. Lebanon:
Librairie Du Liban.
6 Yemen: Insight Guide. 1993. singapore: APA
Copyright (c) 2004 - 2005
Yemen Observer Newspaper