The Syrian president returns to China almost 20 years after the last time in 2004. It will be the first time that Bashar al-Assad will be received by Xi Jinping. For China, this is another seduction operation in the Middle East, to expand its influence in the Persian Gulf.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived this Thursday in the Chinese city of Hanghzou, where he will begin his first visit to the Asian giant in almost two decades, in which he is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
The Syrian leader will attend the opening ceremony of the 19th edition of the Asian Games this Saturday in the aforementioned city, reported the official Xinhua agency, which did not offer more details about the president’s agenda.
“Assad’s visit to China will be perceived as a sign that China-Syria relations could once again be restored to the pre-Arab Spring level, when the two sides engaged in a wide range of cooperation and shared a strong friendship. “said academic Yin Gang to the local newspaper Global Times.
Yin predicted that the Syrian president “will address practical cooperation by meeting with Chinese leaders, including the resumption of projects such as the construction of reservoirs, oil fields and other infrastructure, as well as discussing new potential areas of cooperation.”
According to local researchers, Al Assad’s visit illustrates a “recognition” of Chinese diplomacy by the countries of the Middle East, a region in which China has increased its influence in recent years, for example by acting as a mediator last March for for Iran and Saudi Arabia to reestablish diplomatic relations.
“China’s concept of seeking peaceful national and regional development has played a positive role in promoting reconciliation” in that area, researcher at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies Li Weijian told the Global Times, adding that Middle Eastern countries “seek a more harmonious geopolitical environment and bilateral relations.”
The Asian Games, the largest in history and in which Syrian athletes participate, should have been held a year ago, but the Chinese authorities decided to postpone their organization in the midst of the wave of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
This is also the first time that Al Assad has traveled to China since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, although before the conflict he had visited this nation, which in the opinion of experts is interested in enhancing its influence in Syria and other countries. near the Middle East.
The United States, an antagonist whose presence Beijing often seeks to counteract, leads an international coalition to fight against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) in Syria and is deployed in several military bases in the Arab country, against the will of the Al Assad Government.
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