A monument honouring the famed 15th century Chinese Muslim admiral, Zheng He, was unveiled in Oman’s Dhofar governorate yesterday.
The ten-metre tall monument located in the coastal city of Salalah depicts a Chinese treasure ship, the largest vessels in He’s fleet, which dwarfed European ships at the time. It was constructed using 3D print technology. Symbolising the traditional friendship between Muscat and Beijing, it is the result of a collaboration between the Chinese embassy and Oman’s Foreign Ministry.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador to Oman, Li Lingping, said: “Zheng He’s voyages to the Western Ocean fostered friendly exchanges between ancient China and the countries along the Indian Ocean coast. These voyages facilitated economic, trade, and cultural ties between China and these nations.”
Li noted that this year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, with the completion of the Zheng He Monument holding particular significance.
Khalid Bin Salim Al-Saeedi, chairman of the Oman-China Friendship Association, said in his speech that the Zheng He Monument demonstrates the long-standing and uninterrupted exchanges between the civilisations of Oman and China. Leaders of both countries have been committed to the development and growth of bilateral relations in various fields, he said.
According to the Muscat Daily, the monument, designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, is inspired by the Maritime Silk Road, on which Zheng He travelled. The early Ming dynasty explorer and diplomat led huge fleets westwards seven
times to Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia and East Africa, including reaching Dhofar four times. It has also been theorised
that He “discovered” America more than 70 years before Christopher Colombus did in 1492.
China and Oman established a strategic partnership in 2018 and signed cooperation agreements under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which includes the Maritime Silk Road.