China's Xi meets Syrian President Assad: state media
HANGZHOU, China, Sept 22, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad on Friday afternoon, state media reported.
Assad on Thursday began his first official trip to China in almost two decades as he seeks financial support to help rebuild his devastated country.
He will attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday.
"Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Hangzhou, capital city of east China's Zhejiang Province," state news agency Xinhua reported.
China is one of only a handful of countries outside the Middle East that Assad has visited since the 2011 start of a civil war that has killed more than half a million people, displaced millions more, and battered Syria's infrastructure and industry.
China's foreign ministry said Thursday his visit will take ties to a "new level".
"China and Syria have a traditional and deep friendship," foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing.
"We believe that President Bashar Al-Assad's visit will further deepen mutual political trust and cooperation in various fields between the two countries," she added.