China's President Xi Jinping holds talks with UAE officials

(From left)  Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, UAE's Vice-President, Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Defence Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan at the Pr
(From left) Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, UAE's Vice-President, Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Defence Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan at the Presidential Airport in Abu Dhabi on July 19, 2018.PHOTO: AFP/HO/WAM

ABU DHABI (AFP) - China's President Xi Jinping held talks on Friday (July 20) with top UAE leaders on ways of bolstering bilateral relations on the second day of a visit ahead of a three-nation Africa tour.

Xi met UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, who is also ruler of Dubai, and Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, the Crown Prince said on Twitter.

They discussed "strengthening strategic bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest with the Chinese president," he said on Twitter.

The visit by Xi - who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for a three day trip - follows China and the Emirates agreeing oil and trade deals.

State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co said Thursday it had awarded two contracts worth US$1.6 billion (S$2.2 billion ) to BGP Inc, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Co, for a seismic survey in the emirate.

The survey is to search for oil and gas in onshore and offshore sites covering an area of 53,000 square kilometres.

The UAE's state-owned DP World announced an agreement by the two countries to build a new trade zone in Dubai.

 
 

The project is part of China's trillion-dollar "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure initiative, an ambitious plan to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global network of ports, roads and railways.

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.

Abu Dhabi is the Chinese president's first stop on a tour which also includes Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa.