DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is scheduled to embark on a visit to China from Thursday, marking his first trip to the allied nation since before the Syrian civil war erupted more than 12 years ago.
China will become the third non-Arab country that Assad has visited since before the conflict, which has resulted in over 500,000 casualties, millions of displaced people, and severe damage to the nation’s infrastructure and industries.
Assad’s office stated that he and his wife are responding to an official invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping and will commence their visit to China on Thursday. The visit comprises several meetings and events to be held in Beijing and Hangzhou. Assad will be accompanied by a political and economic delegation.
The pro-government newspaper Al-Watan reported that Assad is expected to attend the opening of the Asian Games in Hangzhou on September 23.
Bilateral Relations Between China and Syria
China has been a consistent source of international support for Damascus, particularly at the UN Security Council, where it has repeatedly abstained from voting on resolutions targeting the Syrian government.
In 2021, during a visit to Damascus, Assad met with China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, and discussed the potential for Syria to participate in China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure and trade initiative, as reported by the Syrian presidency.
In 2019, Wang Yi conveyed China’s firm support for Syria’s economic reconstruction and its efforts to combat terrorism during a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who was visiting Beijing.