Assad's crucial visit to China signals deeper bilateral ties

Assad's crucial visit to China signals deeper bilateral ties
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Upcoming trip aims to strengthen Syrian-Chinese relations amid shifting regional dynamics.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is scheduled to lead a high-level delegation to China in the coming weeks. The goal is to intensify discussions with Beijing about strengthening bilateral ties, as reported by Iranian Press TV, citing the Beirut-based Al Akhbar newspaper.

This political and economic delegation aims to engage in extensive dialogue with Chinese leaders. Anonymous sources from Syria emphasized the significance of the upcoming visit, calling it "crucial." In a symbolic gesture underscoring the importance of Syrian-Chinese relations, President Assad is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in a ceremonial setting.

Al Akhbar describes the impending trip as a "pivotal juncture for Syrian-Chinese cooperation." It suggests China's increased presence and influence in the region, especially as the visit is seen as amplifying China's role in West Asia.

The 12-year gap since the last official visit highlights the importance of this trip. It showcases China's steadfast support for Assad's international legitimacy, particularly when the U.S. is seen as creating obstacles to Arab-Syrian rapprochement and Syria's political advancement. Al Akhbar further emphasizes China's commitment to aid Syria's economic recovery and play a role in post-war reconstruction efforts. Syria has struggled with the aftermath of a decade-long external militancy, leaving many Syrians in dire circumstances.

China's move symbolizes its ambition to establish a strong presence in West Asia. This is evident in Al Akhbar's analysis, highlighting Beijing's intent to send clear messages to Washington, demonstrating its determination to overcome the Western apprehensions it has faced recently.

Assad's trip coincides with the upcoming conference on China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), marking its 10th anniversary. A vital BRI corridor leading to Europe transits the Mediterranean, implying a route via Syria, Iraq and Iran, and earlier through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The transport channel is speculated to be through the Syrian port city of Latakia or overland routes.