Since their announcement, the inaugural China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, which ushered in a new era in Chinese-Arab ties, have attracted global interest, and their successful convening has brought China-Arab and China-GCC relations to new heights.
As the globe grapples with increased uncertainty and a potentially protracted economic slowdown, the partnership between China and Arab governments plays a larger role in preserving multilateralism and global development.
Similarly, it is believed that China’s 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has brought stability to a globe where uncertainty is spreading. In this article, a reporter from the Global Times spoke with UAE Ambassador to China Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri on China-Arab relations, bilateral ties, and the 20th CPC National Congress, among other topics.
In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, UAE Ambassador to China Ali Obaid AI Dhaheri stated that the convening of the China-Arab States Summit is a celebration of the friendships and collaborations that have grown between our nations.
All nations and our peoples will benefit from the summit’s strategic initiatives for future partnership, he said.
According to him, the Arab ancestors established the maritime “Spice Routes” to complement China’s famed “Silk Road,” and the collaborative spirit of these networks has been rekindled in the current world by the “visionary” Belt and Road Initiative offered by China (BRI).
The envoy emphasized that the wide and diversified engagement between China and the Arab world has been revitalized by the BRI and has entered a new paradigm.
China and Arab states have always been “excellent friends and good partners, and the UAE-China relationship is a clear example of this,” he told the Global Times.
The historical ties between the Arab world and China date back to the Tang Dynasty in the seventh century. And during this early golden period of booming economic contacts, new trade routes were established, allowing for the interchange of scientific knowledge in medicine, mathematics, and astronomy.
“Today, this complimentary and mutually advantageous trade dynamic has been re-established and redefined; it has blossomed into a second golden age of ties between China and the Arab world,” he stated.
The ambassador stated, “Under the leadership of the CPC, China has achieved tremendous success in altering the lives of its people and achieving great achievements in different fields of economic and social development.”
He remarked that China’s peaceful ascent has been genuinely “historic,” with various beneficial repercussions throughout the globe.
This is especially significant in the Middle East, where Chinese commerce and investment are expanding.
According to him, the practice and experience of China’s reform and opening-up and economic development serve as an example for other nations.
The United Arab Emirates is similarly in the process of transforming its economy from an impoverished, oil-dependent nation to a knowledge-based, creative society. Keeping this in mind, the UAE established effective methods and policies to promote innovation in our society and economy. He stated, “I hope that in the future, our two nations will be able to inject an even stronger impetus into the cooperative growth of scientific research, technology, and innovation.”
The UAE was among the first countries to join the BRI, and it currently serves as the BRI’s major logistics center in the Middle East and North Africa.
Currently, the UAE is responsible for more than 60 percent of China’s exports to the area, and they anticipate that the BRI would further speed infrastructure development.
“Over the last two years, the UAE and China have joined forces to address this huge global issue, a sign of the growing depth and vigor of their entire strategic alliance. As a result, the UAE was one of the first nations to launch a vaccination program for all of its citizens and residents, providing the vaccine for free. The United Arab Emirates was ultimately dedicated to being a leader in international charity and global humanitarian programs,” the envoy explained.
China and the UAE are establishing unprecedented interconnectedness through the Port of Jebel Ali, Khalifa Port Container Terminal Phase II, and China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone, which are all big projects. As a result of BRI connection, China has become the UAE’s largest commercial partner, with over 6,000 Chinese firms already working in the UAE. Numerous MOUs have been signed, initiating new relationships in numerous fields.
“I am confident that the scope of this partnership will continue to expand and diversify, including new areas of cooperation such as climate change mitigation, innovation and technology, food security, energy security, financial services, education, and international humanitarian assistance,” he said.
It has been 38 years since the UAE and China first established diplomatic ties, and four years since they signed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Exemplary is the bilateral relationship between the UAE and China. China is our major trading partner, and its $9.3 billion investment stock makes the UAE China’s largest non-oil trading market in MENA.
Both the UAE and China are committed to combating climate change and lowering carbon emissions to ensure sustainability and share a vision of a green future. The UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 program mimics China’s “dual carbon” approach, and the two countries have collaborated closely on the issue of clean and renewable energy. As the host of the COP28 meeting next year, the United Arab Emirates will continue to highlight the climate topic. In the meanwhile, the UAE will collaborate with China, our strategic partner, to create a brighter and cleaner future.
Our two nations are dedicated to broadening their collaboration in many other areas, including climate change, food security, financial services, education, and cultural exchange. Importantly, the UAE is always eager to broaden the geographic scope of its alliances and collaborate with the whole Arab world and other like-minded nations to accomplish the same ambitious goals: “to establish a community with a shared destiny and shared wealth for all humanity.”