The Damascus presidency announced on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will visit China this week for a private summit with his Chinese counterpart.
On Thursday, Assad, Asmaa al-Assad, the first lady of Syria, and a significant team will go to China for a series of meetings in Beijing and Changzhou. A summit between Presidents Assad and Xi Jinping would take place, according to the announcement.
The last time Assad went to China was in 2004 to meet with President Hu Jintao. Since the two nations’ diplomatic relations were established in 1956, it was the first trip by a head of state from Syria to China.
China, together with Syria’s principal allies Russia and Iran, kept these connections strong despite international isolation of Assad following his deadly suppression of anti-government protests that began in 2011.
China has regularly vetoed resolutions on Syria as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, including those that sought to expand cross-border humanitarian operations into regions that were not under the control of the Syrian government.
This year, after more than ten years of suspension, the Arab League reinstated Syria as a full member, bringing Assad out of the diplomatic cold.
(With agency inputs)