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Will China rebuild war-ravaged Syria? Here’s why Beijing is doubling down on its newly minted partnership with Assad

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Over the weekend the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Syria during a trip to the Middle East and met with President Bashar Assad. Yang is known for his highly proactive diplomacy, often dashing across multiple regions of the world to meet his counterparts, but this particular visit was particularly notable for a number of reasons.

First of all, it was the first high-level Chinese visit to Syria since the civil war began. The chaos tearing the country apart and efforts towards regime change by the West made it untenable for many years. On the back of this, what made it on the second note more notable was that Wang attended on the day Assad was sworn in for a new term as president, following May’s elections.

That’s a big endorsement, to put it mildly. The timing and symbolism of the visit was designed to confer legitimacy upon him as Syria’s president, which Beijing has not done before. After the visit, China then came out with an almost manifesto-like spree of pledges concerning Beijing and Damascus, again, something it had not done before.

China pledged support for Syria’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty, affirmed its opposition to regime change and foreign intervention, set out opposition to sanctions and also pledged itself as an economic partner by inviting the Arab country to join the Belt and Road Initiative. In exchange, Assad gave his “unconditionalsupport to China on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan.

What happened in Damascus is arguably rhetorical; one can see it doesn’t pledge anything........

© RT.com

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