China says visit by Syria’s Assad to push ties to ‘new level’

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China said Thursday that a visit by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad this week would take ties to a “new level”.

“We believe that President Bashar Al-Assad's visit will further deepen mutual political trust and cooperation in various fields between the two countries, pushing bilateral ties to a new level,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing.

Assad arrived earlier on Thursday in the eastern city of Hangzhou, where he will attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games on Saturday.

It is the Syrian leader's second visit to China.

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“China and Syria have a traditional and deep friendship,” Mao said, adding Syria was one of the first Arab countries to establish diplomatic relations with China.

“Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 67 years ago, China-Syria relations have maintained healthy and stable development.”

She said Assad “also attaches great importance to developing China-Syria relations”.

“President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders will meet with him to exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern,” she added.

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