China and UAE can inject stronger impetus into cooperation devt of science and technology: ambassador
Published: Dec 23, 2022 09:08 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:

The first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit which ushered in a new chapter in Chinese-Arab relations drew worldwide attention ever since they were announced and their successful convening has since elevated China-Arab relations and China-GCC relations to new heights. As the world is grappled with increasing uncertainty and a potentially prolonging economic recession, cooperation between China and Arab states carries more weight in upholding multilateralism and global development. Likewise, China's 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is also viewed to have injected certainty to a world of growing uncertainties. In this story, the Global Times reporter talked with UAE Ambassador to China Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri on the China-Arab cooperation, bilateral ties, and the 20th CPC National Congress among others.

Celebration of friendship

The convening of the China-Arab States Summit is a testament to the strong ties between the two sides, and a celebration of the friendships and partnerships that have developed between our nations, UAE Ambassador to China Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

He noted that the summit laid out strategic plans for future collaboration, the merits of which can be enjoyed by all nations and our peoples.

According to him, the Arab forefathers created the maritime "Spice Routes" to complement China's iconic "Silk Road" and the collaborative spirit of these networks has been reinvigorated in the modern world, through the China-proposed "visionary" Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Through the BRI, the extensive and multifaceted collaboration between China and the Arab world has been rejuvenated; it has entered a new paradigm, the ambassador stressed.

He told the Global Times that China and Arab states have always been "good friends and good partners, and the UAE-China relationship is a striking exemplar of this."

The Arab world has deep historical connections with China, stretching back as far as the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century. And this early golden age of flourishing commercial relations saw the opening up of new trade routes, facilitating the exchange of scientific knowledge in medicine, mathematics, and astronomy.

"Today, this complementary and mutually beneficial trade dynamic has been re-established and re-defined; it has grown into a second golden era of relations between China and the Arab world," he said.

Extraordinaire performance

"Under the leadership of the CPC, China has achieved extraordinary results in transforming the livelihoods of its people and attaining remarkable accomplishments in various aspects of economic and social development," said the ambassador.

"The 20th CPC National Congress demonstrated China's road map of development for the years to come. This is crucial to the world, amid the increasingly complex risks and challenges we are facing, since today's China is the growth engine of the global economy," he said.

He noted that China's peaceful rise has been truly "historic, effecting numerous positive reverberations throughout the world.

"This is especially impactful in the Middle East, as we witness burgeoning trade and investment from China."

In his opinion, the practice and experience of the reform and opening-up and the economic transformation of China is a model for other countries to emulate.

The UAE is also on the way of economic transformation from an underdeveloped, oil-based country into a knowledge-based, innovative society. With this view in mind, the UAE adopted effective strategies and policies to instill a culture of innovation in our society and economy. "I believe that in the future, our two countries can inject even stronger impetus into the cooperative development of scientific research, technology, and innovation," he said.

More cooperation expected

The UAE was among the first to join the BRI and now the country serves as a principal logistics hub for the BRI in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Currently, the UAE is responsible for over 60 percent of China's exports to the region, and they expect to further accelerate the infrastructure development under the BRI.

"Over the last two years, both of our countries have joined hands in tackling this major global challenge, a testament to the increasingly deep and robust UAE-China comprehensive strategic partnership. As a result, the UAE was one of the first countries to embark upon a vaccination campaign for all of its citizens and residents, offering the vaccine for free to everyone. Ultimately, the UAE was committed to being a leader in providing international aid and global relief initiatives," the ambassador introduced.

The Port of Jebel Ali, Khalifa Port Container Terminal Phase II, and the China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone are major projects whereby China and the UAE are achieving unprecedented connectivity. Supported by BRI connectivity, China is now the UAE's largest trading partner and more than 6,000 Chinese companies are presently operating in the UAE. Many MOUs have been signed, which have initiated new partnerships in various areas.

"I am sure the scope of this partnership will continue to expand and diversify, with new areas of cooperation including climate change mitigation, innovation and technology, food security, energy security, financial services, education, and international humanitarian assistance," he said.

Thirty-eight years have passed since the UAE and China first established diplomatic relations, and it has been four years since the two nations enacted the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The bilateral relationship between the UAE and China is exemplary. China is our largest trading partner, and its investment stock of $9.3 billion ensures that the UAE is China's largest market across MENA for non-oil trade.

The UAE and China share the vision of a green future; both nations are dedicated to addressing climate change and reducing carbon emissions to ensure sustainability. The UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative echoes China's "dual carbon" strategy, and the two nations have been working closely on the topic of clean and renewable energy. As the host of next year's COP28 summit, the UAE will continue to prioritize the climate agenda. Meanwhile, the UAE will also work with China, our strategic partner, for a better and cleaner future.

"With our ongoing achievements and shared visions of a prosperous future, our two nations are committed to diversifying our cooperation in many other aspects, including climate change, food security, financial services, education, and cultural exchange. More importantly, the UAE is always willing to expand the geographical scope of its partnerships, and work with the entire Arab world, as well as other like-minded countries, to achieve the same visionary goals - to promote a community with a shared future and joint prosperity for all mankind."