President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China arrived in the UAE on Thursday for a three-day state visit, accompanied by First Lady Peng Liyuan.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the President and his accompanying delegation, state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE is the first stop for Xi Jinping on a tour also including Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa.
Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed said he was "delighted" to welcome Xi, posting photos on Twitter of the Chinese president receiving flowers on landing in the emirate.
"This is a historic visit and represents a new stage of cooperation in all fields, which will bring growth, development and prosperity to the people of our nations," said the crown prince of the UAE capital.
China is the UAE's top trading partner, with non-oil trade in 2017 rising 15 percent year-on-year to over $53.3 billion - more than 90 percent of it Chinese exports to the UAE, according to Abu Dhabi's finance ministry.
The UAE is also one of the top 15 crude suppliers to China, exporting some $4 billion worth of oil to Beijing last year. Ninety-six percent of the country's oil reserves are located in Abu Dhabi.
In a further sign of strengthening ties between the two countries, Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Properties on Wednesday announced plans to build the Middle East's largest Chinatown in the UAE.
Earlier on Thursday, state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co said it had awarded two contracts worth $1.6 billion to BGP Inc, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Co, for a seismic survey in the emirate.
And DP World also announced an agreement by the two countries to build a new trade zone in Dubai.
The deal between the global port operator and the Zhejiang China Commodities City Group will see a "traders' market" built at Dubai's Jebel Ali free zone.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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