17.9 C
Los Angeles
Friday, July 19, 2024

China and Syria Strengthen Ties with Strategic Partnership Announcement

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a “strategic partnership” with Syria on Friday during talks with President Bashar al-Assad, who is seeking financial support to help rebuild his devastated country. The leaders met on the eve of the Asian Games opening ceremony, which Assad will attend as part of his first visit to China since 2004.

Beijing has supported Assad throughout the conflict and has repeatedly vetoed or abstained from resolutions against Damascus at the United Nations. Assad’s visit highlights the growing rehabilitation of his regime on the international stage, where it has been isolated since the 2011 start of a civil war that killed more than half a million people and displaced millions more, leaving the country’s infrastructure and economy in ruins.

During his meeting with Assad, Xi said the two countries have maintained a close relationship over the past 67 years despite changes in the international situation. He said China and Syria are willing to strengthen cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, jointly safeguard global stability, uphold international law, and promote regional and world peace and development.

He added that the two countries are committed to strengthening security and anti-terrorism cooperation. He said that China supports a political solution to the Syrian issue following the principle of a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned settlement. China also supports Syria in building its reconstruction capabilities, improving relations with other countries, and playing a more significant role in international affairs. He added that China and Syria are willing to increase trade and imports of high-quality agricultural products.

In response, Assad thanked China for its support and “the great role it has played in the development of the Middle East.” He said Syria attaches importance to China’s friendship and is eager to enhance cooperation with the two sides, including through the Belt and Road Initiative. He also praised the achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics, saying that it has significantly contributed to safeguarding world peace and stability.

The meeting between Xi and Assad is the latest sign of China’s deepening engagement in the Middle East. Earlier this year, Beijing helped broker a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, ending a seven-year diplomatic rift.

While Xi is eager to expand China’s economic influence in the region, analysts wonder if many Chinese companies would be interested in investing in Syria. They say that its poor security and dire financial situation make it difficult to attract foreign investment. Investors are also worried that doing business in the country could expose them to sanctions under the 2020 Caesar Act, which allows the U.S. to freeze assets of anyone dealing with a designated terrorist group. Despite this, they say the strategic partnership announcement is a step in the right direction. “If there are any concrete proposals that will translate into projects, then it would be a positive sign,” says Samuel Ramani, an analyst with London’s RUSI think-tank. “But at the moment, there isn’t much interest.” Read China and Syria to Boost Military Cooperation

Trending Now:

Recommended for "The Publishers Weekly"

Most Popular Articles