(EnergyAsia, August 19, Wednesday) — A high-powered delegation from Abu Dhabi led by Crown Prince General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was in China recently to strengthen energy, economic, political and military ties between the two countries.

General Sheikh Mohamed, who is also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, met President Hu Jintao and other senior Chinese leaders.

The visit also aimed at realising the goals of creating new trade frontiers and diversification of the emirate’s economic resources spelt out under “Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.”

General Sheikh Mohammed and his officials met with key business people as they ratified several contracts touching on economic, military and cultural ties, and specifically on the oil, petrochemical, renewable energy and tourism industries.

The UAE has expressed interest in establishing oil storage facilities in China, now the world’s second largest market. The facilities could also be used to serve the other Asian giant consumers, India and Japan.

Abu Dhabi, a member of the UAE, is rated the second most important trade partner with China in the Gulf region and the first market for Chinese products among the Arab countries.

Trade between the two countries, which could be traced back to the Silk Road era, rose 40.5% to US$28 billion in 2008.

The UAE has 200,000 Chinese expatriates and around 3,000 registered Chinese companies operating through both the Ministry of Economy and the free zones. The two countries have joint projects totalling US$12 billion.

According to the Chinese trade ministry, the UAE has invested US$220 million in China to date, most of it in the banking and financial sector.