Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid arrives in China to take part in global summit

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai has joined a global gathering to discuss China's Belt and Road initiative

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid ordered the release of 587 prisoners
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Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid has arrived in Beijing to take part in a global summit on China's flagship Belt and Road initiative.

The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai has joined a high-level gathering of leaders converging on the Chinese capital for talks on the wide-ranging scheme at the Belt and Road Forum this week.

The Belt and Road initiative, one of Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature policies, combines a land "economic belt" and a "maritime silk road" to link China with South-East, South and Central Asia, the Arabian Gulf, North Africa and then finally with Europe.

The World Bank estimates that the scheme will encompass 30 per cent of the global GDP, 62 per cent of the world’s population and 75 per cent of known energy reserves.

China's Belt and Road Portal has said the initiative already has the support of more than 100 countries.

Mr Xi launched the Belt and Road project in 2013. It aims to create an international platform for economic co-operation, including partnerships on trade and financial investments.

Sheikh Mohammed's participation in the coming forum follows a UAE delegation last week taking part in a conference in China on the strategy.

Representatives from the Federal Tax Authority and the Ministry of Finance were at the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Co-operation Forum to explore ways to strengthen ties between countries involved in the initiative and bolster trade and investment.

Dozens of world leaders are expected to attend the Belt and Road Forum, which runs from April 25 to April 27.

President Xi visited the UAE last July, which was notable for being his first overseas engagement since being re-elected four months earlier.

China and the UAE have long-standing economic and cultural ties dating back decades.

The UAE is home to about 200,000 Chinese citizens and 4,000 businesses, while more than one million Chinese tourists visited the UAE in 2017.

In January last year, China agreed to allow UAE nationals to travel to the Asian country without visas.

The deal, which was signed in Abu Dhabi by Ahmed Al Dhaheri, assistant under-secretary for consular affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Ni Jian, China's ambassador to the UAE, allows Emiratis to stay in the country for up to 30 days each visit.

Formal ties between the two nations were established in 1984, with the UAE's Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, visiting China six years later.

Trade between China and the UAE jumped 15 per cent to top $52 billion in 2017, making China one of the UAE’s leading partners.

The UAE leadership bestowed the Order of Zayed on China's President Xi Jinping during his landmark visit.

Energy and financial deals between the two countries were signed during the tour.

Another diplomatic delegation from China, led by the country's Vice President Wang Qishan, visited the UAE in October last year.

They were hosted by Sheikh Mohammed at his palace in Al Zabeel. The visit provided another boost to the growing friendship between the UAE and China.