Shaojin Chai recalled the buzz surrounding preparations for a series of welcoming events in the United Arab Emirates just before President Xi Jinping's visit to the country in 2018.
Chai, an assistant professor in the department of international relations at the University of Sharjah in the UAE, had been asked by some Emirati cultural and news institutions to take part in their events, including a cultural event to be attended by Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan.
"Everybody was excited," Chai said. "It was the first time since (1989) that (a Chinese) head of state had visited the UAE," he said, referring to the December 1989 visit by then president Yang Shangkun. The visit was reciprocated in 1990 when the UAE's late founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, visited China, six years after diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in November 1984. read more