The Dynamism of the UAE's Foreign Policy
- 11 April 2007
The visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to China and the great interest displayed by the Chinese Media in this visit reflect the vitality of the UAE foreign policy, which is vigorously involved in the international arena and is keen on maintaining solid and effective relations with the major powers in the world. At the forefront of these powers is China which is making great strides towards achieving a distinguished status on both regional and international levels. The visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to China comes shortly after the visit of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to India, which is the other rising Asian economic power on the Asian and international arena. This reflects the UAE's thoughtful assessment of the significance of maintaining relations with Asia and the major powers there for various considerations, some of which pertain to geographic considerations and others to powerful economic interests, in addition to the necessity of diversifying political action alternatives, which is considered one of the UAE's most prominent foreign policy principles since the UAE inception in 1971.
The significant issue in the UAE's relations with China is the mutual interest in developing such relations, which falls within a wider scope of the growing relations between China and the GCC in general. This is reflected in the density of the mutual visits between the two countries and the various interactions on political, cultural and economic levels, as expressed by the figures of joint commerce, which indicate that the volume of commercial exchange between the UAE and China has increased last year in the rate of 32% and reached about 14,2 billion dollars, which renders the UAE the largest commercial partner of China in the Gulf region, second to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the Gulf-Chinese level, there is a move to establish a free zone between both sides currently under negotiations. China's trading with the GCC countries reached 35 billion dollars in 2005. Moreover, China is showing great interest in developing its relations with the UAE in particular and the GCC in general, taking in this regard various channels; The interest between the UAE and the Gulf on one side and China on the other is mutual, which colors the relations between both sides with several distinguished characteristics, at the top of which are mutual respect and continuous progress. Thus, the UAE is moving East and West according to an obvious vision, governed and directed by mutual interests and without subjecting itself to the dilemma of choosing between alternatives or choosing one on the account of the other, out of its keenness to adopt an open-door policy with everyone and maintain effective, balanced, and positive relations with all regional and international parties.