China says al-Assad's visit to push ties with Syria to 'new level'
The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attaches great importance to developing China-Syria relations.
China said on Thursday that a visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping this week would take ties to a "new level".
"We believe that President Bashar al-Assad's visit will further deepen mutual political trust and cooperation in various fields between the two countries, pushing bilateral ties to a new level," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing.
The Syrian leader arrived earlier on Thursday in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where he will attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games on Saturday.
Al-Assad is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising political and economic figures, emphasizing the multifaceted nature of the trip. Multiple industrial agreements between the two countries are expected to happen during the trip.
It is the Syrian leader's second visit to China.
"China and Syria have a traditional and deep friendship," Mao highlighted, adding that Syria was one of the first Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with China.
"Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 67 years ago, China-Syria relations have maintained healthy and stable development."
She said al-Assad "also attaches great importance to developing China-Syria relations."
"President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders will meet with him to exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern," the Chinese diplomat added.
It is noteworthy that Beijing has provided Damascus with international support, particularly at the UN Security Council, where it has repeatedly abstained from Western-proposed resolutions against Damascus.
In late April, the Syrian President met with the Chinese special envoy Zhai Jun in Damascus, where the former highlighted China's increased role in bringing peace and stability to the Middle East, adding that China's practices have become the go-to standards in politics, economy, and culture.
During the meeting, al-Assad said Syria does not forget that China stood by its side during the war in order to defend Syrian sovereignty and appreciates all the assistance provided by Beijing during the devastating earthquake that struck the country on February 6.
In 2021, al-Assad met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Damascus and discussed Syria possibly taking part in China's "Belt and Road" infrastructure and trade initiative, the Syrian presidency said at the time.