Xi, Al-Assad announce milestone China-Syria 'strategic partnership'
China's president Xi says this move is a "milestone" in the history of relations between the two countries.
China and Syria announced the establishment of a strategic partnership, Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed on Friday, just one day after China's Foreign Ministry stated that this week would take ties between the two countries to a "new level."
"Today we will jointly announce the establishment of strategic partnership relations, which will be an important milestone in the history of relations between the two countries," Xi declared during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as cited by the China Central Television (CCTV) broadcaster.
"Faced with an international situation full of instability and uncertainty, China is willing to continue to work together with Syria, firmly support each other, promote friendly cooperation, and jointly defend international fairness and justice," he added.
Relations between the two countries "have withstood the test of international changes," Xi said, affirming that the friendship between the two nations has been "strengthened over time."
The two leaders have so far signed three cooperation agreements with more on the way, Syrian state news agency SANA said.
A 'historic' visit
For the first time since 2004, Syria's leader landed on Thursday in China's Hangzhou, on what was described as a historic visit, where is scheduled to 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.
"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 reporters following his arrival.
"China and Syria have a traditional and deep friendship," she added, stressing that Syria was one of the first Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with China.
All throughout the global war on Syria, Beijing has provided Damascus with international support, particularly at the UN Security Council, where it has repeatedly abstained from Western-proposed resolutions against the war-torn country.
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, in reference to the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, adding that China's practices have become the go-to standards in politics, economy, and culture.
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