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China Daily Global / 2021-06 / 08 / Page003

UAE, China can work closely in key fields, envoy says

By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-08 00:00

Great potential lies in further collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and China on science and technology, with the breadth and depth of cooperation in these areas rising in recent years, according to Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, the UAE ambassador to China.

Renewable energy, biosafety, food security, life sciences and medicine, aerospace and advanced manufacturing, are among the key fields the UAE is looking forward to cooperating with China on, Dhaheri said in an interview with China Daily on Wednesday.

"China is becoming a leader in the science and technology fields. It has strong manufacturing strength and abundant innovation resources, as well as a huge domestic market for technology commercialization," Dhaheri said.

China's success in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and the speed of its vaccine research and development also played an instructive role for other countries. "All of these (factors) make China attractive to global partners, including the UAE," he said.

Dhaheri said both countries pay close attention to scientific and technological developments. In March, the UAE launched an initiative to revitalize and transform its industrial sectors. China has also prioritized innovation in the areas of science and technology in its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

The two nations have high degree of innovation, which complement each other across various sectors, said Dhaheri, raising the example of clean energy.

The UAE has long been committed to energy transition and is currently devoted to developing its hydrogen energy industry, he said. Renewable energy will account for around 30 percent of the country's total power generation by 2030, according to the UAE's national industrial strategy.

He also said that the rapid development of technology in China has produced tangible outcomes, and China is one of the global leaders in areas including infrastructure, agricultural technology, supercomputers, fintech and e-commerce. These technologies have enabled China to become a global leader in innovation, he said.

Dhaheri said he is fascinated by China's artificial intelligence technology, especially self-driving vehicles, robotics and AI vision and speech technologies. He noted that Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences are among the world's top institutions when it comes to AI research and achievements.

"The UAE is also committed to developing AI technology and has made substantial efforts to do so. We released the world's first national strategy on AI in 2017, and we built the world's first university dedicated to teaching AI, at the Mohammed Bin Zayed University for AI," said Dhaheri, adding that the institute has hired many Chinese AI scholars as teachers and in key management positions.

Since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1984, they have cooperated in various fields with science and technology focuses.

The Chinese tech giant Huawei has been involved in building a communications system for the UAE's railways since 2013.

Two years ago, the UAE and Huawei signed a cooperation agreement on construction of a 5G network in the UAE, and a memorandum of understanding to expand and deepen cooperation on the project was signed by both sides in May.

On fintech, Dhaheri said the Dubai International Financial Center is the regional headquarters of China's four major banks. The center has signed a memorandum of cooperation with a number of Chinese fintech companies to promote the development of digital finance, cross-border payment and other services, according to Dhaheri.

In the healthcare sector, China's Sinopharm Group and the UAE's G42 Group cooperated on clinical trials of Chinese-developed COVID-19 vaccines last year.

"We're able to produce the Chinese vaccines in the UAE and the production will reach up to 200 million doses a year. This is not only for the UAE or China. Instead, this will be an effort to support many parts of the world to fight the COVID-19 pandemic," the ambassador said.

Dhaheri also said that the UAE and China can work together to tackle other global challenges, such as climate change, desertification, environmental deterioration and the pandemic.

Jin Xinyi contributed to this story.

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