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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

President Xi Jinping pays homage to 'trail-blazing spirit' of China and UAE ahead of state visit   

The Chinese President also writes in The National of the need to strengthen economic globalisation, amid a rising protectionist movement in some major economies

Chinese President Xi Jinping with his wife Peng Liyuan at Moscow's Vnukovo II airport in May. AFP
Chinese President Xi Jinping with his wife Peng Liyuan at Moscow's Vnukovo II airport in May. AFP

The President of the People’s Republic of China has paid homage to the "trail-blazing spirit" of China and the UAE as he celebrated the two nations' partnership.

Writing in The National ahead of his much-anticipated state visit to the Emirates this Thursday, President Xi Jinping described the beginning of "a new journey" which would further strengthen the deep bonds of "solidarity and compassion" between the powers.

"The past 34 years have seen a robust expansion of our economies in a development miracle occurring on both ends of the Eurasian continent," the president wrote.

"China has emerged as a strong driving force for world economic growth and the UAE has become an oasis of development for the Arab world.

"Our two countries are geographically far apart and different in national conditions.

"But we are both proud to have an enterprising and creative people who never give up their dreams."

Amid a rising protectionist movement and fears of a global trade war, Mr Xi said China and the UAE "need to strengthen policy communication, speed up integrated development, uphold the multilateral trading system and see that economic globalisation is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all".

China and the UAE first established diplomatic relations 30 years ago and have since gone on to form long-standing economic and cultural ties.

Last year, more than a million Chinese tourists visited the UAE while bilateral trade amounted to $46.3 billion (Dh170 billion) in 2016.

China's relationship with the Middle East can be traced back more than 2,000 years to merchants travelling the ancient Silk Road.

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Silk and porcelain were brought to the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa and Europe while Arab spices and pearls were carried throughout the Far East.

Recognising this history, Mr Xi said it was his hope that such an essential and prosperous strategic partnership between the two nations would long continue.

He described the dual powers as having become "bosom friends", and stressed the need to expand their common interests in oil, industry, finance, education and culture.

"I look forward to working with the UAE leaders to draw up a blueprint for China-UAE cooperation so as to unlock its full potential and advance China-UAE relations," he said.

"Hopefully we will be able to deliver more tangible benefits to our two peoples through these endeavours."

Also on Tuesday, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State of the UAE, described China as a hugely influential player in international relations.

He said that President Xi Jinping's visit to the country would be his first foreign trip since his re-election in March this year, and thanked Chinese officials for their commitment to the Emirates.

“The UAE and China have a long history of economic cooperation, which developed greatly under the UAE's Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan," he said.

“The relationship is rooted in the principles of mutual respect, constructive dialogue and meaningful cooperation to achieve their common interests in a variety of sectors.”