His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, arrived in Beijing on Monday, the start of a four-day official visit.
Sheikh Mohammed met with Chinese President Hu Jintao (pictured above with Sheikh Mohammed) as part of a visit aimed at boosting fast-growing economic ties between the two countries.
"The UAE vice president lauded the volume of trade exchange between his country and China and the outstanding economic ties" between the two nations, the Emirates official Wam agency reported.
Trade between the countries has surged in recent years, with the UAE China's second-biggest trade partner in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia.
Chinese imports made up 11 per cent of the UAE market in 2007, second only to the United States.
An Emirates source said the leaders touched on political issues during their meeting, but the discussions centred primarily on how to increase bilateral trade between their countries.
Wam said "the Chinese president described Sheikh Mohammed as 'an old friend of the Chinese leadership and people'" and that he "played a major role in the boosting of bilateral ties between the two countries."
Sheikh Mohammed also invited Hu to make an official trip to the Emirates, Wam said.
Four accords were to be signed during the visit, according to an Emirates source, including one on cooperation in the defence sector.
Sheikh Mohammed was expected to meet Vice President Xi Jinping and Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday, the last day of his visit. He will participate in a university roundtable on Tuesday and a bilateral economic forum in Shanghai on Wednesday.
He has come with a large delegation of ministers and business people, including the heads of many big companies from the Emirates. These already have a strong presence on the Chinese market, particularly in Shanghai, China's financial hub.
China has been scouring the world in recent years to secure enough energy resources to fuel its booming economy, successfully building trade ties with the oil-rich Arab nations as well as Africa. (AFP)
Mohammed in China for trade talks