The President of China Xi Jinping is visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He is the first Chinese head of state in 29 years to visit the Arab state.
He was received at a grand welcome ceremony held by the country’s leadership on Friday.
Xi was received at the Presidential Palace by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The Chinese president was greeted by horse guards and a UAE Air Force aerobatic display team. A 21-gun salute was also fired when Xi arrived at the palace.
The national anthems of both countries were played and Xi, accompanied by the Crown Prince, reviewed a guard of honour.
Both countries have pledged to strengthen their people-to-people exchanges as they agreed to lift bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
They agreed to set up cultural centres in each other, launch joint cultural projects, and participate in each other’s cultural activities.
They also agreed to expand dialogues on soft power and cultural policies, enhance cooperation in such fields as heritage preservation, modern arts and urban environment, and promote exchanges between their think tanks.
According to the document, China and the UAE will also step up regular dialogues on tourism cooperation and long-term cooperation between their major cultural organizations.
People-to-people exchanges have seen rapid progress over the past few years. In 2017, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UAE topped a million.
The two nations agreed to expand mutual investment and tap the potential of cooperation in areas like clean and renewable energy.
Meanwhile, governments and enterprises on both sides should deepen cooperation in crude oil trade, oil and gas exploration and oil field development, according to the document.
The two sides agreed that oil and gas cooperation is an important pillar for bilateral practical cooperation, said the document.
In oil-rich Middle East, the UAE has started to pursue greener and more sustainable development, often with the help of technologies and projects from China.