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Xi leaves for Middle East, African visits

Writer:   | Editor: Lily A  | From:  | Updated: 2018-07-20

Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing on Thursday for state visits to United Arab Emirates (UAE), Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa, and the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

Xi will also pay a friendly visit to Mauritius during a stopover on his way back to Beijing.

Xi on Wednesday published a signed article titled “Working Hand in Hand for a Better Future” on Al Ittihad and The National, two mainstream newspapers in the UAE, ahead of his state visit to the Middle Eastern country.

In the article, Xi said he hopes his visit to the United Arab Emirates will upgrade bilateral relations and build a China-UAE community of a shared future in Belt and Road cooperation, benefiting people of both countries.

Xi said China and the UAE have become close friends that help and complement each other, and important partners that have always communicated and coordinated with each other on regional and international affairs since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1984.

“The past 34 years have seen a robust expansion of our economies in a development miracle occurring on both ends of the Eurasian continent. China has emerged as a strong driving force for world economic growth and the UAE has become an oasis of development for the Arab world,” he wrote.

China has been the UAE’s largest trading partner for several consecutive years. The UAE has become China’s second-largest trading partner and largest destination for exports in the West Asia and North Africa region.

In 2017, two-way trade volume reached US$40.98 billion, a year-on-year increase of 2.3 percent, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The UAE was one of the first countries to embrace the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which has gained wide support and proactive participation from the Arab world.

“A new journey needs leaders with strong resolve. A new mission needs people with strong commitment,” Xi wrote.

“I look forward to working with UAE leaders to draw up a blueprint for China-UAE cooperation so as to unlock its full potential and advance China-UAE relations at a higher level and speed and build a China-UAE community of a shared future in Belt and Road cooperation.”

The president also suggested that the two countries should work hand in hand as strategic, collaborative, interactive and innovative partners.

“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 their dreams,” he said.

“I am convinced that with the support and participation of our two peoples, we will be able to make history with our mutually beneficial cooperation,” he added.