Syrian President Assad Embarks on Historic Official Visit to China After Nearly Two Decades

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Syrian President Bashar al Assad is scheduled to travel to China on September 21 upon receiving an invitation, from President Xi Jinping. According to reports from state media President Assad will lead a delegation of political and economic representatives for official discussions held in Beijing and Guangzhou.

The Syrian delegation will include Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and Finance Minister Samer al Khalil. This visit marks a significant milestone as it represents President Assad’s inaugural official trip to Beijing since the year 2004.

Analysts expect several bilateral agreements to be signed during Assad’s visit as part of China’s larger strategy to cement its position as a power broker in West Asia.

Beijing has already proved instrumental once this year in helping Syria come in from the cold after Chinese officials brokered the historic Iran-Saudi rapprochement that also saw a normalization of ties between Gulf states and Damascus.

In the weeks that followed the Saudi-Iran deal, Syria was also welcomed back into the Arab League, a development which China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called evidence that “when the shadow of the US shrinks, the light of peace spreads.”

In March, Chinese officials urged the US to end its illegal military occupation of Syria and stop looting its resources, stressing that its continued presence has worsened Syria’s humanitarian crisis.

“China has throughout the years defended Syria’s territorial integrity and many times used its veto power at the UN Security Council to prevent interventions in the Arab country’s internal affairs,” Kosai Abido, a Syrian political analyst and author, told Press TV this week.

“Since China is considered a friendly state for Syria and has significant economic power, cooperation agreements with this country should be expanded to include food, pharmaceutical, and technology sectors,” Abido added.

The previous year, Chinese and Syrian authorities inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that heralded Damascus’ participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI, a monumental infrastructure project, aims to channel investment and infrastructure development into Global South nations, simultaneously bolstering connectivity for trade, finance, and cultural exchange.

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