BEIJING, China - UAE leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed had his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, as he began his three-day visit to the country.
The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, who is next in line to the UAE presidency, was given a huge welcome at the Great Hall of the People.
"Today, I am pleased to meet with my dear friend Xi Jinping, President of China," Sheikh Mohamed posted on Twitter on Monday.
"We share common aspirations, ambition, a vision of investment in human capital and envisage a future of safety, peace and stability worldwide. The UAE and China are moving towards a promising future," he said.
The UAE is a strong ally of the United States, but in the past year or so has forged a strong relationsip with China.
Sheikh Mohamed however pointed out the UAE and China have had a strong relationship since they first established diplomatic ties in November 1984. He said the UAE Founding Father Sheikh Zayed paid a visit to China in 1990, which he said laid the foundation for the two countries' relationship today.
"Upgrading the current strategic partnership in place between the two countries since 2012 to a comprehensive strategic partnership on the occasion of the historic visit of the Chinese President to the UAE in 2018 was the culmination of the long and successful path of UAE-China cooperation, which led to pioneering partnerships in various fields," he said.
Trade between the two countries has grown significantly in recent years, making China an important trading partner for the UAE. The crown prince said the UAE opened its doors to Chinese investments and is encouraging Emirati businessmen to invest in China. Several large Chinese construction companies are now busy at work across the UAE. Chinese investors are also being drawn to the property markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, having been turned away by tightening government restrictions on foreign ownership in countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Chinese investors can also take up the UAE's newly-introduced extended visas where they can have residency for up to 10-years on a renewable basis.
On Monday, the two leaders oversaw the finalisation of 16 agreements in the finance, and oil sectors.
One of the agreements signed was between the UAE's biggest property, the Dubai-based Emaar Properties and Beijing Daxing International Airport which provides for the Dubai developer to build an $11 billion mixed-use complex comprising residential units, hotels and shopping malls. Emaar on Monday, coinciding with the visit of Sheikh Mohamed, opened an office in Beijing.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) also signed a strategic agreement with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to explore collaboration upstream as well as downstream with the world's largest oil importer, The National reported on Monday.
After that signing ceremony, the UAE-China Economic Forum began which brought together more than 500 business people from the UAE and China to discuss trade opportunities between the two countries.