By Binsal Abdulkader and Firas Fadel Hassan
ABU DHABI, 11th November, 2022 (WAM) — China-UAE relations are better than ever before, under the strategic leadership of President Xi Jinping and President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Zhang Yiming, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
In an exclusive interview with WAM at the Chinese Embassy in the UAE, he added that“the China-UAE friendship is sweeter than Liwa dates and more fragrant than Arabian coffee.”
The growth in relations has reflected in all areas, from economy to people-to-people ties, said the envoy, explaining that“cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, sports and other fields is becoming a new driving force for practical cooperation between China and the UAE.”
Yiming underscored that the UAE’s Chinese language education programme has become the flagship brand of Chinese language teaching among the“Belt and Road countries”, and the Chinese community in the UAE has doubled in size since 2019.
54,000 students in 158 schools learn Chinese
“So far, the Chinese teaching programme in the UAE has covered 54,000 students in 158 public schools and is striving to cover 200 schools. I am confident we will reach that target sooner,” the ambassador asserted, saying that UAE is the first Arab country to offer Chinese language courses in local public schools.
Chinese School Dubai, the first Chinese national curriculum school in the UAE, is also the only such overseas school in the world that connects to the Chinese educational system, Yiming said. The school, recognised by the educational departments of the two countries, has developed considerably in the past two years and received 99.5 percent satisfaction rate from the parents of students, he revealed.
200,000 Chinese residents grow to 400,000
Although China and the UAE and other Arab regions are far away, people are close to each other like one family, the ambassador said.
“Promoting people-to-people exchanges is also an important consensus reached by the two presidents.”
At present, the number of Chinese citizens living in the UAE is estimated at 400,000, he noted. This means the community has doubled in size since 2019 when the population was estimated at 200,000. Around 6,000 Chinese enterprises are also operating in the UAE, Yiming added.
The upcoming China Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi, the ambassador said, would become a new platform for people-to-people exchanges between both countries.
The centre in Al Nahyan Camp area in the capital is expected to be operational by 2023, he revealed.
New opportunities in relations
The recently concluded 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress in Beijing brought confidence and motivation to the world, and opened new opportunities for further cooperation between China and the UAE, the ambassador said.
“The Party General Secretary Xi Jinping said that ‘China’s door of opening-up will only get wider’ and stressed that ‘China’s development cannot be separated from the world, and the world needs China in its development as well’,” Yiming explained.
China stands ready to share market opportunities, investment opportunities, and share growth and development opportunities with the UAE and other countries in the world, emphasised the ambassador who took charge six months ago. The initial experiences“has deepened my good impression of this country. I believe that the UAE strikes a fine balance between tradition and modernity, representing the hope and future of Arab and Muslim countries.”
Cooperation in climate change
Climate change cooperation has become a new highlight of China-UAE practical cooperation, the envoy stressed.
China has announced its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and launched ten major initiatives for carbon peaking and pushed for progress in low-carbon development and green transformation, he explained.
“All of this provides fundamental guidelines for our climate cooperation. At present, China and the UAE have already taken action, while promoting cooperation in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, exploring innovation cooperation in energy, science and technology, and advancing transformation and upgrading in industrial structure,” the envoy pointed out.
“We are also working together on the deep integration of new technologies such as internet, big data, artificial intelligence and 5G with green and low-carbon industries,” Yiming said.
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