Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, arrived in Beijing to take part in the Belt and Road Forum.
Heads of state from 37 countries are expected to fly into China this week ahead of the global summit, which takes place from April 25 to April 27.
On the UAE-based newsite Forsan, a video of Shaikh Mohammad was shared on Twitter as the Vice-President received a red carpet welcome from Chinese diplomats and government officials.
Visiting leaders will be headlined by Russia’s Vladimir Putin, as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, a close China ally and among the biggest recipients of Belt and Road investment, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy, which recently became the first G7 country to sign on to the initiative.
Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, and according to Reuters, the total value of projects in the scheme is at $3.67 trillion, spanning countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America.
Since the 2015 visit made by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to China and the consequent signing of strategic agreements between the two countries, UAE’s trade with China witnessed a surge to $70 million annually. The UAE also plays a vital role as a distribution point for 60 per cent of Chinese exports to the region.
According to President Xi, the Belt and Road Initiative is a project of the century and will benefit people across the world. “The initiative is not meant to reinvent the wheel. Rather, it aims to leverage the comparative strengths of the countries involved and coordinate their development strategies,” he said.