Zhang Yiming, Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, speaks during an exclusive interview with China Daily in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, on Feb 7, 2023. (LESLEY LIU / CHINA DAILY)
Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Zhang Yiming said on Tuesday that Hong Kong was well-positioned to deepen ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by leveraging its unique strengths amid surging Sino-UAE cooperation.
With the UAE hosting thousands of Chinese companies, it could serve as a strong platform for Hong Kong to forge closer ties with the Emirate while promoting a full play to their roles as the pivots of the Belt and Road Initiative, said Chinese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Zhang Yiming
In an exclusive interview with China Daily in Abu Dhabi, Zhang said the ongoing high-profile visit by Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, accompanied by a high-powered delegation to the UAE, has been widely welcomed by the UAE government and the local community.
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Lee and a delegation comprising more than 30 Hong Kong industry leaders embarked on an eight-day visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Saturday. It is Lee’s first overseas trip this year – kicking off focused efforts by the special administrative region to promote the city globally after it embraced normalcy at pre-pandemic levels.
Zhang said stronger UAE-China relations had provided a solid foundation and environment for HK’s collaboration with the UAE. In 2022, Sino-UAE trade hit a record high of $99.27 billion, up 37.4 percent year-on-year despite the pandemic. In addition, more than 420 Hong Kong enterprises, including household names in the city such as Cathay Pacific and Hutchison Ports had established footholds in the UAE. In 2021, Hong Kong opened its Economic and Trade Office in Dubai to facilitate collaboration.
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Zhang pointed out how the UAE and Hong Kong shared common strengths. “Hong Kong is the Pearl of the Orient and UAE is called the “Pearl of the Gulf”. I think both have very unique locations as regional financial, economic, trade and innovation centers and both sides are also playing a similar role to connect the world between the West and East,” he said.
Zhang said with the UAE hosting thousands of Chinese companies, it could serve as a strong platform for Hong Kong to forge closer ties with the Emirate while promoting a full play to their roles as the pivots of the Belt and Road Initiative.