Syrian President To Travel To China For Summit

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will travel to China this week for a bilateral summit with his Chinese counterpart, the presidency in Damascus said in a statement.

Syrian first lady Asmaa al-Assad and a senior delegation will travel to China on Thursday for a string of meetings in Beijing and Changzhou. Presidents Assad and Xi would hold a Syrian-Chinese summit, the statement said.

Report says Assad last visited China in 2004 to meet then-President Hu Jintao. It was the first visit by a Syrian head of state to China since the countries established diplomatic ties in 1956.

China and Syria are allies of Russia and Iran and have maintained ties even as other countries isolated Assad over his brutal crackdown on anti-government demonstrations that erupted in 2011.

Meanwhile, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has repeatedly vetoed resolutions on Syria, including several to extend cross-border aid operations into areas outside the Syrian government’s control.

Assad has come in from the diplomatic cold this year, with the Arab League reinstating Syria as a fully-fledged member after more than a decade of suspension.



REUTERS/Christopher Ojilere

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