The UAE and China agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership on Saturday, issuing a joint declaration on the final day of President Xi Jinping's state visit.
A statement published by state news agency Wam said that mutual political trust has been enhanced, co-operation in areas of economy, trade and energy steadily expanded, and the friendship between the two countries strengthened.
It was issued as Chinese President Xi Jinping prepared to leave the UAE after a three-day state visit during which he was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.
President Xi Jinping left the UAE on Saturday after the first visit by a Chinese president to the country in 28 years. On Friday he was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi, where they held high-level talks.
As he departed the UAE, the Chinese president expressed his happiness at the visit, saying it had enhanced the "friendship" between the countries.
"I would like to say that our meeting left a very deep impression on my mind," Mr Xi said.
"This visit certainly contributed to strengthening the relationship between the two countries as well as the personal friendship between us, and I am confident that the UAE under its leadership will achieve further progress and prosperity. As a strategic partner of the UAE, China will make joint efforts to achieve mutual interests."
In turn, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Chinese president for his sentiments, saying, "we are proud of this relationship."
It was a visit which Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said was "historic" and would bring "prosperity and development" to the people of both countries. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said the UAE is striving to "consolidate cultural, public and humanitarian relations in addition to the existing strong political and economics relations."
In the joint statement the countries stressed their eagerness to deepen bilateral relations that have been growing since a strategic partnership was signed in 2012.
They have agreed to work more closely together on political issues both regionally and internationally, will establish sustainable trade and investment partnerships and will continue to cultivate partnerships in a wealth of economic sectors, including the growing field of Artificial Intelligence, energy, transport, industry and provide training for small and medium business enterprises to contribute to the economic strength of both China and the UAE.
China and the UAE also signed 13 memorandums of understanding and agreements to boost non-oil bilateral trade by more than 9 per cent to $58 billion this year.
Deals struck include a partnership between state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and China National Petroleum Company that could lead to Chinese investment in UAE projects such as an aromatics plant and a new refinery. A key UAE-China Economic Forum was also held as part of the state visit.
During talks at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi on Friday, the UAE leadership bestowed the Order of Zayed upon President Xi.
The UAE's highest civil decoration, named after the Founding Father, is rarely bestowed and reserved for the country's most esteemed partners among heads of state around the world. Recipients include Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
The milestone visit took place during a huge celebration of Chinese culture marking UAE-China Week.
The UAE had already been in celebratory mood ahead of Mr Xi's arrival, with iconic buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab in Dubai and Adnoc’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi lit up in China's colours.
Rolling coverage of the highly anticipated visit was beamed to millions of people both in China and throughout the Middle East.
Talks between Mr Xi and the UAE leadership in Abu Dhabi on Friday focused on extending co-operation further in all areas, with partnerships key to cementing the relationship.
The meeting is said to have launched a new era of ties across many sectors.
The statement in full
At the invitation of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President Xi paid a visit to the UAE from 19th to 21st of July 2018. Since the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries in 2012, bilateral relations have been witnessing a comprehensive and rapid growth, through which mutual political trust has been continuously enhanced, cooperation steadily expanded in areas of economy, trade and energy, traditional friendship was boosted a day after day.
In this regard, the parties have agreed on enhancing cooperation and building ties in multiple fields, which are:
1. Political field: The two sides believe that the current international and regional situation is experiencing changes and complicated, accelerating developments, which requires more coordination and cooperation between them in the international and regional affairs to reach a joint understanding.
The Chinese side supports the constructive role being played by the UAE in regional affairs, and the UAE hails the positive role played by China in the international issues, which mirrors the strong political ties.
The two sides will intensify the exchange of high-level visits and enhance strategic communication regarding bilateral relations, regional and international issues of mutual concern as well as increase communication, cooperation and coordination of positions in the international organisations, conventions and treaties in this regard.
The two sides will fully employ the political consultation mechanism between the foreign ministries of the two countries to discuss and address regional and global challenges, and to expand consultations on political and security issues, use dialogue to increase mutual understanding, deepen trust, and provide joint ground to promote bilateral relations and maintain peace and development.
The two sides stress the importance of giving priority to enhancing the representation and voice of the developing countries, including the Arab countries, through reforming the Security Council, find a comprehensive solution to all issues through full and transparent discussion and consensus-building.
The two sides are committed to continuing the provision of consistent support to the other side in issues related to national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and security, taking into account the fundamental interests and major concerns and non-interference in the internal affairs of the other side.
The UAE side expresses its unwavering commitment to the One-China Principle and supports the position of the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Taiwan issue. The country also supports the peaceful development of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and the issue of peaceful reunification of China.
China supports the UAE's efforts to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and unity.
The two sides emphasise non-interference in the internal affairs of countries and peaceful resolution of issues in accordance with the principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
2. Economic and Financial fields: The UAE side welcomes and supports the "Belt and Road Initiative" and is keen on participating actively in the related projects and to continue to support and participate in the initiative for international cooperation and other relevant important events.
The Chinese side appreciates the active participation of the UAE side and welcomes the UAE as an important cooperation partner in the construction of the "Belt and Road". The two sides are keen on continuing to intensify the information exchange and policy coordination, so as to promote practical and significant cooperation between China and the UAE in all fields to achieve comprehensive results. The two sides will organise conferences and forums under the title, "Belt and Road" to enhance communication and understanding and further bolster strategic partnership between the two sides.
The two sides emphasise their desire on boosting cooperation within the initiative and to establish sustainable trade and investment partnerships in the best interest of the two sides.
The UAE and China hail the steady growth in the trade exchange volume while stressing their determination to increase trade exchange and integration through maximising the benefit of the unique and distinguished infrastructure and the UAE's strategic position as a major investment and trading gateway for the Middle East markets The two sides are keen to further enhance cooperation in the economic, trade and employment fields, full employment of the role of the Joint UAE-China Economic and Trade Committee, mechanism of visit exchange between businesspersons and other platforms and mechanisms for economic and trade cooperation, thus driving the strong cooperation to practical economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides are keen to further facilitate trade and investment, setting a framework for joint cooperation and working together to establish a free trade area as well as creating a more stable and transparent economic and trade environment.
The two sides agree to expand cooperation in e-commerce, coordinate policies, share expertise, increase inter-corporate communication, conduct specialised training, develop cross-border e-commerce and support the development of bilateral trade through cooperation in e-commerce.
The Chinese side welcomes the active participation of the UAE in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai this November. The UAE side is highly appreciative of this important Chinese initiative aimed at organising the exhibition. The two sides agree to enhance cooperation in this regard.
The two sides are keen to further develop cooperation in production capacity and good implementation of the ''Framework Agreement'' on cooperation on the production capacity and investment fields between the two governments.
The two sides support the establishment of the model park of China-UAE cooperation in the production capacity, which makes it a model project for both sides in the "Belt and Road Initiative".
3. Enhancing cooperation in innovation, technology transfer, economic diversification and data exchange areas and relevant information: They agree to enhance the role of private sector in both countries to strengthen the economic cooperation between the two sides through the optimal recruitment of the UAE-China Business Committee and other platforms aimed at exploring opportunities and building partnerships in various economic sectors, especially in the logistics, transport, industry, technology, artificial intelligence and energy, renewable and food security fields, as well as two-way business and to provide training for small and medium enterprises to increase their contribution to the economic activity in the best interest of the two sides.
The two sides are keen on exchanging expertise in the free trade through ports and building special export-oriented economic zones, establishing industrial projects, achieving the industrial integration based on effective investment partnerships, exchange of expertise and the supporting technology of fourth generation industries and other advanced industries.
The two sides are keen on increasing and improving mutual investments and expanding cooperation fields, investment and financing channels, including joint investments in the African continent and Pacific Islands.
The two sides welcome and support the opening of branches of the banking institutions in both countries in compliance with laws, rules of supervision and management in each country, provision of financial support for trade cooperation and bilateral investment, and promoting communication and cooperation between the two central banks of the two countries, as well as cooperation between the UAE international financial centres and Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The two sides are keen on cooperating in the customs, taxes and protection of intellectual property rights. They will also enhance communication and cooperation between the competent authorities concerned with intellectual property rights.
The two countries will take the necessary measures to combat corruption, facilitate trade, exchange expertise in the use of modern technical and technological devices.
The Chinese side hails the accession of the UAE as a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which would support development efforts in Asia.
The two sides emphasise the importance of continuing negotiations to enhance cooperation in aviation and air transport between the two countries, as well as to boost cooperation in the aviation industry as it is one of the most important enablers of promoting economic, cultural and humanitarian relations between the two friendly countries.
The two countries will encourage the exchange of expertise in the fields of green industry sector.
4. Education, Science and Technology fields: The two sides encourage the establishment of educational projects in both countries in various educational stages.
The two sides are keen on developing cooperation in the scientific and technological innovation under the "Partnership Programme between China and Arab countries in Science and Technology "and encourage distinguished young Emirati scientists to conduct short-term scientific research in China and enhance cooperation on the technology transfer centres between China and the UAE, which would contribute to promoting the ideal use of modern and applied technology and disseminate it.
Developing cooperation between the two sides in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, space, energy, renewable energy, sustainable development, agriculture and the environment, urban development and care domains and exchange of information and research, enhancing technical communication as well as the exchange of individuals between educational institutions in both countries.
5. Renewable Energy and Water: The two sides are keen on further enhancing comprehensive cooperation in energy and expand mutual investments between the two countries in this regard.
They will employ the potential of the two countries to cooperate in the clean and renewable energy and develop cooperation for the generation of renewable energy and the peaceful use of nuclear energy to reduce climate change effects, and support research institutions of both sides to carry out joint research.
The two countries also stress their commitment to continue to support the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to cooperate on Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and to benefit from it through the establishment of energy companies and other related fields.
The two sides emphasise their support for joint scientific research and development, and cooperation in projects to address challenges of the scarcity of drinking water, raise efficiency in its uses, ensure its quality and exchange of expertise in building dams.
They also agreed on enhancing cooperation in the agriculture, forestry, the ecological and sustainable management of waste through dialogue, information exchange and capacity building.
They also stressed the importance of consultation and exchange of expertise in the food security, investment, agricultural trade and establishment of markets of agricultural products, combating desertification, desalination of seawater and climate change fields.
6. Oil and Gas Sector: The two sides encourage the competent government departments and other competent companies of the two countries to promote cooperation in the crude oil trade, exploration and development of oil and natural gas resources and engineering construction services for oil fields, and for networking of strategic storage facilities, refining derivatives and petrochemicals domains, and other industries and related business activities.
The Chinese side welcomes the latest developments in the joint cooperation in oil and gas industries, out of its keenness to extend cooperation to include trade and marketing of crude and products.
7. Military and Law Enforcement and Security fields: The two sides express their high appreciation for the existing friendship and constructive cooperation between the Chinese and UAE armed forces.
The two sides are keen to enhance practical cooperation between the two armies represented in high-level exchange of visits and communication between the two armies in various forces and weapons, joint training and training of personnel and other domains through cooperation mechanism between them.
The two sides are keen on cooperating in the science, technology and defence industry development of mutual interest through preparing a joint working plan.
The two sides reaffirm their unequivocal rejection of all forms of terrorism, that represents a threat to the international peace and stability, and ensure security cooperation in this regard.
The two sides are keen on boosting communication and cooperation to fight corruption and organised crime and cybercrimes, money laundering, human trafficking, drugs and illegal migration.
The two sides are keen on enhancing cooperation and exchange of information on the maritime security.
The two sides agree on rallying efforts on counter-terrorism issues, exchanging of expertise and information on combating terrorism, and strengthening individual training and capacity-building in that regard.
They will enhance cooperation in the nuclear technology, boosting regional and international cooperation mechanisms on the nuclear non-proliferation area, related export control arrangements, and to participate in efforts to combat smuggling of nuclear materials.
8. Cultural and Humanitarian field: The two sides agreed to encourage cultural communication at the official and popular levels. They also support the opening of cultural centres in the two countries and the establishment of joint cultural projects between them and participate in various cultural events of the other side.
They also keen on developing a dialogue on soft power policy and cultural policies and promoting cooperation in the cultural industries, preservation of heritage, contemporary art, and promotion of intellectual exchanges in all its forms and events.
The two sides will promote cooperation and communication in the urban environment and sustainable development and enhance regular dialogue on tourism and exchange of information on relevant initiatives as well as the best practices in the sustainable tourism development.
They will work to develop long-term and stable cooperation between major cultural institutions and important arts festivals.
9. Consular field and facilitating movement of the citizens: The two sides emphasise the distinguished and historical relations that unite their peoples and the rights enjoyed by citizens of the two countries.
They are keen on further facilitating movement of the citizens of the two countries through a comprehensive visa waiver agreement, strengthening humanitarian ties and supporting tourism and cultural movement, as well as ensure the safety of citizens and companies of both sides.
10. Mechanism of implementing strategic partnership: The two sides agree to support the role of the mechanism of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, established in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Establishment of the Cooperation Committee between the United Arab Emirates and the People's Republic of China on 2nd May, 2017, and stress the role of this mechanism to implement the provisions of this statement to ensure achievement of the objectives comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
Gallery: Mr Xi is bestowed with the Order of Zayed, the UAE's highest civil decoration: