Saqr Gobash, UAE Minister of Labour, Shaikh Ali Al Hashemi, Religious Adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, and Chang Hua, Chinese ambassador to the UAE, at a cultural event to mark the Chinese National Day. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The UAE is a good friend to China, said top officials celebrating China’s National Day on Monday at St. Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

And loyal friendship is bringing social and financial prosperity to both sides.

For example, bilateral trade continues to witness a steady upsurge, reaching up to Dh201.9 billion last year, the country’s envoy told Gulf News.

Chang Hua, Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News at the celebration the strategic partnership since diplomatic ties were established 31 years ago has matured.

A sense of mutual trust has led to more Chinese nationals and companies putting down roots in the UAE, he said.

Chinese tourists are also flocking to the UAE.

“Today, there are 200,000 Chinese residents living in the UAE and up to 4,000 Chinese companies are also based in the country,” he said.

“The number of Chinese tourists coming to the UAE continues to increase by 10-20 per cent every year. Last year, half a million Chinese tourists visited the UAE, which is another testament to the two countries’ strong ties in tourism and trade.”

Dubai Week in Beijing hosted by the UAE government has sent a delegation to the China-Arab Exhibition held in Ningxia, is another strong example of the countries’ close bond, the ambassador said.

“During the visit of Yang Xiong, mayor of Shanghai, to the UAE in May, the two sides signed many cooperation agreements and reached a broad consensus on future cooperation. We also have frequent people-to-people exchanges. At the International Book Fair held in Beijing, many activities organised by the UAE left a deep impression on the Chinese people regarding its history and culture.”

China’s National Day celebration, which were held in the capital to mark the country’s independence on October 1, 1949, was attended by established diplomats, Chinese residents and people from other nationalities.

Fayhan Al Fayez Shalhoub, Ambassador of Colombia to the UAE, told Gulf News: “The two countries have always enjoyed friendly relationships, particularly on both trade and political levels. There isn’t a better way to show them our support.”

Ali Younus, Charge d’Affaires of the Palestinian Embassy in the UAE, said: “China is one of the most well-established countries on the global map and deserves our support. Also, it is great to be here to learn more about the country, its people and traditions.”

Two Chinese residents, Bin Zhu and Huiyi Chen, said that it is a privilege to celebrate and socialise with other attendees as well as mark their country’s independence, which to them is a significant milestone.

Maisoon Mubarak is a trainee at Gulf News.