ABU DHABI, July 19 (Xinhua) -- China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are enjoying their "best period" in history now, said a senior Chinese diplomat.
"This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the UAE. Our relationship is currently in its best period in history," Ni Jian, the Chinese Ambassador to the UAE, told the UAE official news agency WAM in an exclusive interview.
In the Middle East, the UAE has "the deepest, broadest and most fruitful cooperation with China," he said.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will pay a state visit to China next week, almost one year after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UAE.
"The exchange of visits between our leaderships within a year is proof of the high standards and special significance of China-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership, thus marking a milestone in the development of our bilateral relations," he explained.
"The upcoming visit by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed is expected to consolidate and deepen our political and strategic mutual trust, and elevate our political, military, commercial, cultural, people-to-people and technological cooperation," the ambassador said.
"Jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative is in line with the UAE's interests and brings opportunities and momentum to our respective development. As an important regional transport hub and financial and trade center, the UAE has a pivotal role to extend China's cooperation with the Gulf and the Middle East," he explained.
About the thriving cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the envoy said over 1.1 million Chinese tourists visited the UAE in 2018, thanks to the mutual visa-exemption arrangement.
"There are over 150 commercial flights every week connecting different cities in the two countries," he added.
Meanwhile, the exchanges in education field are burgeoning under several programs by both sides that facilitate students' visits and applications for higher education, the ambassador explained.
Confucius Institutes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, an ongoing initiative to teach Chinese language and culture in 200 UAE schools, and frequent visits of Chinese artist groups to the UAE have also enhanced cultural and educational relations.
"Our plan to open a Chinese Cultural Center in the UAE is in progress," the envoy said.
The UAE hosts the largest Chinese community in the Middle East, most of them in Dubai and Sharjah.
"They have forged a profound friendship with local people, and made great contributions to the UAE's economic development with their perseverance and pioneering spirit," the ambassador said.
About the regional developments, he said "we hope relevant parties will remain calm, exercise restraint, take concrete measures to prevent escalation, and jointly uphold maritime safety and security in relevant straits, as well as peace and stability in the region."
The Gulf region is of great significance to international energy supply and global security and stability, he stressed.