Chinese President Xi Jinping and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held rare talks in Hangzhou, China, signifying a strengthening of ties between the two nations. During the meeting, President Xi called on the West to lift sanctions against Syria and pledged China’s assistance in rebuilding the war-torn country.
China has consistently opposed external interference in Syria’s internal affairs and has urged the international community to lift the unilateral sanctions imposed on Syria. President Xi’s statement reflects China’s commitment to fostering stability and economic development in the region.
This meeting holds significant importance for President Assad, as it helps bolster his efforts to regain global recognition and rebuild Syria’s economy. By establishing a strategic partnership with China, Syria gains a valuable ally in the international arena and enhances its chances of receiving vital economic support.
China’s increasing presence in the Middle East and its participation in Syria’s Belt and Road Initiative demonstrate its strategic interests in partnering with the country. Notably, Syria joined China’s ambitious infrastructure project in 2022 and received a warm welcome back into the Arab League in May, further solidifying its ties with China.
The Western sanctions on Syria have progressively tightened since the civil war erupted in 2011, severely impacting the country’s economy. However, Chinese firms may be hesitant to invest in Syria due to the risk of facing entanglement in United States sanctions and potential backlash.
Furthermore, potential Chinese investors face challenges due to Syria’s dire economic situation and poor security. These factors pose obstacles to economic cooperation between the two nations, despite China’s willingness to provide assistance.
China’s active engagement with the Middle East can be seen in its recent efforts to mediate a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March. By promoting peace and economic development in the region, China aims to establish itself as a key player in Middle Eastern affairs.
The meeting between President Xi and President Assad signifies the strengthening of bilateral relations and China’s commitment to supporting Syria’s reconstruction efforts. As China continues to expand its influence in the Middle East, its strategic partnership with Syria is expected to play a crucial role in the region’s political and economic landscape.
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