International Desk: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad started his visit to China yesterday Thursday. Assad will hold a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping during this visit. Assad has started this trip from the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. The Asian Games are starting there from Saturday.
He will be at the Asian Games. Syrian President's Office said that Assad has visited the country at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation on the tour. Xi Jinping will travel to Hangzhou today to attend a banquet with Assad and other heads of state and government attending the Asian Games.
This is Assad's first visit to China since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011. The conflict has killed more than 500,000 people, displaced millions of civilians and caused extensive damage to Syrian infrastructure and industry. Assad's meeting with Xi is expected to focus on trying to secure aid for Syria's reconstruction, writes Heid Heid, a consulting fellow at London's Chatham House on social media platform X. In 2022, Syria joined China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
BRI provides infrastructure funding to developing countries in return for regional influence. However, funding for the BRI project in Syria "has not yet materialized." Assad went on this trip after China expanded its influence in the Middle East. In March, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to establish diplomatic relations, brokered by China.
Beijing has long supported Assad's government. China also provides diplomatic support to the UN Security Council. China is a permanent member of the Security Council. China has so far used its veto power eight times to block resolutions against Assad's government.