China and the UAE enjoy the broadest, deepest and most thriving relations and the two countries are keen to push forward these ties to a new level, said Chinese Ambassador to the UAE Ni Jian on Friday.
“China and the UAE, who are natural partners in the Belt and Road cooperation, need to follow the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, and seek greater synergy in our respective pursuits of national development,” ambassador Ni told a press conference in Abu Dhabi.
Ambassador Ni stressed President Xi’s visit to the UAE reflects the depth and strength of developing relations and the desire to boost and diversify them further in all areas to meet joint goals and aspirations.
He expressed his confidence that the visit would result in positive outcomes that would benefit both nations and their peoples in a win-win cooperation.
The UAE has welcomed the three-day visit of President Xi starting next Thursday, his first foreign visit since his re-election for a second term in March.
In December 1989, President Yang Shangkun made the first-ever visit to the UAE by a Chinese head of state. Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan reciprocated by visiting China in 1990.
Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, emphasised the keenness of UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to develop and bolster relations with China.
In a statement on Thursday, Shaikh Mansour said that Xi is scheduled to hold talks with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Talks are expected to focus on ways to strengthen bilateral relations on all levels, given the growing strategic cooperation between the two nations.
The talks will also focus on coordination and consultation on regional and international issues of concern.
The Chinese president will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes ministers, senior officials and businessmen.
The Chinese ambassador said a number of agreements on political, cultural and economic cooperation will be signed during the historic visit, which “will push forward relations between the two countries quickly and smoothly”.
Ambassador Ni said China will build a super-sized pavilion in the Dubai Expo 2020 to showcase the Chinese talents along with the Emirati talents who will strike a win-win cooperation.
The relationship between the countries has been strong since December 1, 1971 when the UAE’s founding father, Shaikh Zayed, received word from China recognising the UAE’s independence on that day as a new nation.
Since then, the two countries have never looked back on a growing friendship that was formalised on November 1, 1984 when both countries agreed to open official diplomatic relations.
Two-way trade between the two countries was pegged at roughly $53 billion (Dh194.64 billion) in 2017.
In early 2016, there were an estimated 4,000 Chinese businesses in the UAE, many linked to Dragon Mart, one of the largest markets of Chinese products outside of China, and the largest in the region.
Ambassador Ni said the Chinese expatriate community in the UAE is estimated to be more than 200,000 people, the largest in the Middle East and more than a million Chinese tourists visited the UAE in 2017, up from 600,000 in 2016. He estimated Chinese tourists will surely increase to more than one million this year.
The Chinese ambassador said China and the UAE share a long history of exemplary interactions.
“The scope of our results-oriented business cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries has kept growing to cover a wide range of areas, deepening friendship,” he said.
Ambassador Ni expressed hope that Yemen conflict would be resolved through peaceful means.