True friendship is always based on mutual respect, sharing common interests and a desire to work together — and the same holds true when it comes to international relations between nations. Over the past 35 years, since diplomatic relations were established between the UAE and China, a true and warm friendship has been firmly established between our two countries.
The bond is based on mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, common interests, the desire to work for the development and well-being of both peoples. As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, noted on Monday during his three-day state visit to China, without those elements, genuine cooperation, peace, stability and development cannot be achieved.
Certainly, when it comes to relations between the UAE and China, those foundation stones are firmly cemented in place, allowing both nations to upgrade their current strategic partnership that has been in place since 2012 into an even closer comprehensive strategic tie. It’s the natural culmination of working together across many fields, supporting common goals, and being determined that well-being and strategic economic ties are the basis for building peace, security and stability.
Given the closeness of relations between the two nations, the comprehensive strategic partnership will only result in even stronger and deeper relations — one where trade will continue to grow significantly and is on course to exceed $70 billion (Dh257.46 billion) by the end of next year.
The UAE-China Economic Forum plays a significant part in developing trade and commercial ties, and 16 Memoranda of Understandings were signed on Monday relating to various sectors, between the two nations. Those MoUs span a myriad of sectors — from technology to space, development and education, industry and commerce, energy and culture — with people in both nations benefitting from those close ties.
The UAE is home to the largest Chinese community in the Middle East. More than 1.1 million tourists came from China last year to take advantage of the mutual easy visa schemes, with 150 direct flights between the two countries. Conversely, Emirati businessmen and entrepreneurs are investing in China, exploring opportunities for further cooperation and to build effective partnerships.
This new era of comprehensive strategic partnership is best reflected in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a pioneering development that, given the UAE’s pivotal location between east and west, north and south, will result in numerous benefits to both the countries.