CPC plays an integral role in transforming China into powerhouse of global growth: UAE ambassador
Promising path ahead
Published: Oct 13, 2022 08:44 PM
Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri. Photo: Courtesy of Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in China

Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri. Photo: Courtesy of Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in China

Editor's Note

As the world grapples with unilateralism-induced crises that have threatened global peace, China continues to be a shining example on the international stage, injecting a stable, developmental, and cooperative momentum. Over the last decade, China, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has achieved great success. This month, the CPC will hold its 20th National Congress, an important political event that has drawn worldwide attention. In this series, the Global Times will interview diplomats from various countries, who will share their views on China's development and what it means for the world, as well as their expectations for the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress.

In an exclusive interview with Global Times reporters Xie Wenting and Shan Jie (GT), UAE Ambassador to China Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri (AI Dhaheri) shared his expectations for the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress, the cooperation between the two countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as the development of bilateral ties. 

GT: The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is about to convene. What are your expectations for the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress?

AI Dhaheri:
I would like to wish the upcoming 20th National Congress of CPC full success. The CPC has played the integral role in the transformation of China from a largely agricultural, underdeveloped country to an engine and powerhouse for global growth. The UAE has been a beneficiary of the rise of China and through our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. 

The UAE and China enjoy strong political mutual trust and brotherly friendship, setting a good example of mutual respect and trust between countries under the guidance of both countries' wise leaderships.?There is much common ground between the UAE and China. Both countries are gearing up for a shared future empowered by the spirit of innovation, openness, and inclusiveness. I believe that our partnership continues to drive closer cooperation between governments, private companies, and peoples.

GT: Your have visited many places in China. Based on your observation, what impressed you the most about China's development? How do you assess China's development over the last decade?  

AI Dhaheri
: I've been greatly privileged during my time in China, and I have been fortunate enough to have been to many places in the country. I am quite impressed by the hospitality and warmth of the Chinese people, and the rapid growth and development of China. 

China's peaceful rise is truly historic with positive repercussions throughout the world. Over the last 73 years, China has made remarkable achievements in raising its GDP per capita, literacy, health, average life expectancy, poverty alleviation, and long-term economic growth. Today, China has the second largest economy in the world. 

In my opinion, the UAE and China have closer ties due to our common pursuits of a shared prosperous future. Accordingly, China is committed to multilateral solutions for global problems. China has contributed remarkably toward the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, especially in poverty reduction, education promotion, and installing great infrastructure both in China and overseas.

GT: From your point of view, what are the reasons that have contributed to China's development miracle?

AI Dhaheri:
Since the reform and opening-up in the early 1980s, the world is truly amazed by China's speed of growth, as it leapt to become the world's second-largest economy in only a few decades. In my opinion, the practice and experience of poverty alleviation in China is a model for other countries to emulate.

Currently, with its 14th Five-Year Plan, China continues to lay out an ambitious future for continuing to transform this country. Likewise, the UAE is determined to transit from an oil-dependent economy and revamp the UAE's industrial base into a digital economy powerhouse. The UAE has established scientific and technological innovation as a national priority. We have translated wealth in natural resources into investments in world-class infrastructure, high-quality public education, and innovative healthcare services, among many other areas, serving as a global leader in the Middle East and beyond.

Local children extend new year's greetings to visitors on Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve at the Dubai Expo site, UAE, on January 31, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Local children extend greetings to visitors on Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve at the Dubai Expo site, UAE, on January 31, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

GT: How do you evaluate the cooperation between China and the UAE under the framework of the BRI?

AI Dhaheri
: The UAE is among the first countries to join the BRI, and we have witnessed historic success and reciprocity since our joining. The BRI functions as a trading avenue and has made international trade much easier and more efficient.

Furthermore, the UAE serves as a key logistics hub in the initiative, connecting China to the Middle East and North Africa. We are responsible for over 60 percent of exports from China to the region. We expect to accelerate our infrastructure construction under the initiative. 

I would like to share a piece of gratifying news that the non-oil trade between the UAE and China increased by 78.5 percent from 2012 to 2021. The UAE is now China's largest non-oil trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2021, our non-oil trading value reached over $60 billion compared to $34 billion in 2012.

The UAE will continue to leverage its advantageous position as a logistic hub in the BRI. Our goal is to construct trade and logistics zones in the UAE, to serve better in the initiative, and realize national prosperity.

The initiative provides a great platform for international trade and economic development. We expect more frequent cultural communications with China under the framework of the BRI, as we seek to bring our friendship to a higher level. The UAE will also continue to cooperate with China in technological advancement and sustainable development. The initiative will continue to function as a platform for collaboration.

GT: What more cooperation between China and the UAE can we expect, especially in the fields of science and technology?

AI Dhaheri:
The UAE and China have initiated partnerships in many fields, such as trade and financial services. The cooperation has extended to education, and culture. The UAE and China have shared visions for a prosperous future. Our two countries will continue to thrive with deeper cooperation and on a broader level.

The UAE believes that science and technology are at the core of socio-economic development. The government has initiated several national strategies and programs, aiming to boost the UAE's strength in technological advancement and to be ranked among the world's top leaders in relevant fields. We have already established cooperations with China in many fields in science and technology, and we can expect more beneficiaries in digitization, sustainability, AI, and medicine among others.

Digitalization is UAE's current priority, and we have received quite an amount of achievement so far. The UAE recently launched our Digital Economy Strategy, and we believe there is tremendous potential.

As the host of COP28, the UAE has a deep understanding of the importance of sustainability and climate issues. The UAE has prioritized the climate agenda and attaches great importance to the R&D and application of renewable energy. The UAE and China share the goal of sustainable development, and we have gained prestigious achievements already. China and the UAE cooperated in building the largest solar power station project in the world. The list goes on, and the shared works will continue to contribute substantially worldwide. We can expect more accomplishments with further cooperation.

GT: What's your expectation for future China-UAE relations?

AI Dhaheri:
Over the last 38 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, and the desire to work for the development and well-being of both peoples. 

Given the closeness of relations between the two nations, our comprehensive strategic partnership will only result in even stronger and deeper relations. The UAE is home to the largest Chinese community in the Middle East.??Conversely, Emirati businessmen and entrepreneurs are investing in China, exploring opportunities for further cooperation and to build effective partnerships.

The UAE and China have enjoyed nearly four decades of friendship and cooperation. The scope of this partnership has since grown to encompass cooperation in areas such as climate change, innovation and technology, food security, energy security, financial services, education, and international humanitarian assistance. There have also been more frequent cultural and people-to-people exchanges. 

The UAE is ready to further deepen the synergy of bilateral development strategies and cooperation in various fields, actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation, and take a long-term view and contribute to regional and international peace and development. As the UAE's ambassador to China, I am delighted to facilitate increased and comprehensive cooperation between our two countries.

GT: What does China's development mean for the world? How do you evaluate China's role on the global stage?

AI Dhaheri:
China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an influential global power. Accordingly, it has leveraged its capabilities to continuously make positive contributions to the promotion of global development and the maintenance of world peace. 

Likewise, the UAE holds core values of openness, inclusivity, and cooperation. By staying true to our values, the Emirati people work to actively engage with regional and international development. In the period of 2022 to 2023, the UAE will serve as an elected [non-permanent] member of the UN Security Council. Accordingly, we announced "Strong United" commitments for our term on the United Nations. As Comprehensive Strategic Partners, the UAE and China share similar development paths, concepts, and goals. Our partnership can therefore serve as a model or reference point for developing countries to explore successful paths to modernization.

As a responsible global citizen, the UAE strives to provide sustainable humanitarian assistance, underscoring its commitment to promoting regional and global peace and prosperity, by offering development, humanitarian and charitable support worldwide. We provided a total value of 13 billion Arab Emirate dirham in foreign aid during January 2021 to August 2022. We will hold tight to the humanitarian spirit and devote ourselves to world peace.