Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

Ruler of Dubai says 'many surprises in store' for Expo 2020 as he welcomes China

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid talks of Silk Road ties and future plans as he tours Dubai with Chinese television crew

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid promised "many surprises in store" as he encouraged China and the world to visit Expo 2020 next year.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai said China and the Emirates had undergone similar rapid development in recent years and shown "‘impossible doesn’t exist".

He urged the Chinese to visit the emirate during the six-month Expo 2020 event next year.

"The Chinese can find their visas waiting for them at our airports," he told state broadcaster CCTV.

Sheikh Mohammed took the television crew on a tour of Dubai, including to the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve outside the city.

"More than 10 years ago, I held a lecture at the Gulf University in Bahrain, in which I said that global power is heading East - and by that I meant China. China will lead the global economy," he said.

He spoke of China's Silk Road megaproject, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative, to boost trade in the coming years.

"The Silk Road is highly important for the UAE and we have allocated $3 billion to contribute to this megaproject," he said.

"The Chinese President has revived the Silk Road, which connects the West with the East and vice versa.

"The UAE was the first to support the Silk Road project. We manage 77 ports around the world, and this project is important to us. Investing in it will bring benefits to everyone."

'Sons of the desert'

Sheikh Mohammed invited the CCTV correspondent to tour the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, considered the largest unfenced nature reserve in the UAE. He spoke of the desert and how it is an integral part of the UAE’s character.

"We are the sons of this desert, it is our treasure," he said. "For some, the desert is arduous and dangerous, but for us, we know it well and it has taught us valuable lessons.

"Dubai was once small, but the determination of its people was great. Now, we look forward to Dubai becoming the ‘perfect city.’ We want it to serve as a model for countries seeking to evolve. For me, the word ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist, it was invented by the weak.

"We have created plans for all our emirates for the next several years. We are continuing the hard work, and Dubai and the UAE will become a role model for the world, particularly in the Middle East, in education, health, technology and other fields."

Updated: November 3, 2019 11:13 AM

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