BEIJING: The UAE "will become a shining pearl along the Belt and Road," a senior Chinese official said on Sunday, as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, started his state visit to China.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed's visit to China "will go down as another milestone in the history of our relations," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the Emirates News Agency, WAM in an exclusive interview.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will draw a new blueprint for China-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership," he said.
Exchange of views
The two leaders are expected to have a deep exchange of views on the bilateral relations, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed arrived in Beijing on Sunday evening on a state visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. His last state visit to China was in 2015, while President Xi's last state visit to the UAE was in July 2018.
China is the UAE's second-largest trading partner, with almost US$60 billion bilateral trade in 2017, which is expected to reach up to US$70 billion by 2020.
"Our relationship, having stood the test of the changing international situation, has become a good example of state-to-state relations and a front-runner in China's relations with countries in the region," Yi said.
Energy, finance, infrastructure, industry
"Our two countries enjoy solid political mutual trust and mutual understanding and support on issues bearing on each other's core interests and major concerns. With progress in energy, finance, infrastructure and industrial cooperation, our practical cooperation has been thriving in multiple areas," the minister said.
The relationship enhances both nations' common security, he pointed out. "Our close cooperation on law enforcement and security matters is a strong underpinning for our common security."
The UAE's participation in China's ambitious ‘Belt and Road Initiative' has further deepened the bilateral partnership, the foreign minister said.
The cooperation under the Initiative "not only benefits our two countries and peoples, but also serves as a positive example and a pacesetter for Belt and Road cooperation between China and Gulf countries."
"I believe as our two countries strive for substantive, steady and high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation, the UAE will become a shining pearl along the Belt and Road."
The UAE was China's natural partner in the Initiative, he said, because of the UAE's "favourable location, rich energy and resource endowment, and peaceful and stable society, and as an economic, trade, financial and shipping hub in the Middle East and the Gulf region."