China and the UAE are increasingly cooperating in a number of sectors, including energy, industry and finance, according to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Writing in an op-ed, the Chinese leader said that “the development philosophies and policy objectives of our countries are similar.”
“Our bonds of cooperation are growing stronger,” he added. “China and the UAE have become bosom friends who help and complement each other, and important partners who always communicate and coordinate with each other on regional and international affairs.”
President Xi wrote that upstream energy cooperation between the two countries “if off to a good start”, with Chinese companies having acquired a 12 percent stake in Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil concession in 2017, the first such Chinese acquisition in the Middle East.
In March of this year, he noted, the UAE also awarded a Chinese entity another 10 percent stake in each of the two offshore Abu Dhabi concessions.
With regards to industrial cooperation, Jinping wrote that the two countries have made “historic progress.”
“The Khalifa Port Container Terminal Two, a project jointly built and operated by Chinese and UAE companies with a designed annual capacity of 2.4 million TEUs, will be up and running in the first quarter of 2019,” he wrote.
“The China-UAE Industrial Capacity Demonstration Zone located in the Khalifa Industrial Zone has made good progress. As things stand now, 16 enterprises have signed letters of intent with a committed investment of 6.4 billion yuan ($953 million).”
In the financial sector, Xi Jinping noted that in December 2015 the central banks of the two countries renewed a currency swap agreement, while the China-UAE Joint Investment Fund finalised plans for investment in 12 projects valued at $1.08 billion.
In his op-ed, the President also said that he looks forward to working with UAE leaders “to draw up a blueprint for China-UAE cooperation so as to unlock its full potentials and advance China-UAE relations at a higher level and build a China-UAE community of shared future in Belt and Road cooperation.”
“Hopefully we will be able to deliver more tangible benefits to our two peoples through these endeavours,” he added. “As time marches on, the world changes and evolves into a new one. 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 on their dreams.”
By Bernd Debusmann Jr