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(Bloomberg) — Chinese language President Xi Jinping will meet his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad on the sidelines of the Asian Video games this week, because the Arab chief makes his first journey to China in almost 20 years.

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Xi will maintain a welcome banquet for the occasion and conduct bilateral actions on Friday and Saturday, the International Ministry in Beijing stated. Assad arrived within the japanese tech hub of Hangzhou on Thursday and is predicted to attend the opening ceremony of the video games, which have been postponed final yr because of the Covid pandemic.

The Syrian delegation consists of the nation’s minister of financial system and commerce, Mohammad Samer al-Khalil, the state-run SANA information company reported earlier.

Dignitaries from nations together with South Korea, Cambodia, Nepal, Kuwait, Timor-Leste and Malaysia may also journey to China for the occasion, in accordance with the ministry’s assertion.

Learn: Washington’s Prime Center Japanese Allies Transfer Nearer to China

China has been stepping up its diplomatic efforts within the Center East, most notably by serving to dealer a detente between Iran and Saudi Arabia in March. Throughout a go to to Beijing by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in June, Xi proposed a global peace convention on the Israeli-Palestinian battle, although there have been few indicators of progress on that.

China’s push comes because the Center East has change into much less of a precedence for the US. It additionally offers Beijing extra sway within the Persian Gulf, the world’s greatest supply of petroleum. Final month, China’s marketing campaign for the BRICS bloc so as to add extra members succeeded, with high oil exporter Saudi Arabia becoming a member of, in addition to Iran, Egypt and the UAE.

Assad final visited China in 2004, about 4 years after he turned president, when he met former Chinese language chief Hu Jintao. It was the primary time a Syrian head of state went to China for the reason that two nations shaped diplomatic relations in 1956.

Additionally: Arab League Set to Readmit Syria After a Decade of Isolation

The Syrian authorities’s isolation ensuing from Assad’s crackdown on opponents after the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings is easing. In Might, the Arab League states moved to reinstate Syria, disregarding reservations voiced by the US.

China and Russia have blocked makes an attempt to sanction Assad on the UN Safety Council, prompting the US and European Union to impose unilateral restrictions in opposition to him, his authorities and his supporters. Backing from Russia, Iran and its allies in Lebanon has helped Assad survive the nation’s ensuing civil battle.

(Updates with further particulars from second paragraph.)

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