Syria joins BRI amid extensive China-Mideast exchanges

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China wins more trust from Mideast due to equal, sincere strategy

BEIJING: Syria signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as the country is seeking post-war reconstruction, showing its high political trust in China, experts noted. The move came two days before the scheduled visit of the Iranian foreign minister to China – as part of the intensive visits to China of Mideast senior officials this week.

The ceremony of Syria joining the BRI took place at the Planning and International Cooperation Commission in the capital Damascus and was attended by Fadi Khalil, the head of the commission, and Feng Biao, China’s ambassador to Syria, during which both sides signed MOU on Syria joining the BRI, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Khalil said the admission of Syria into the initiative revives the old role of Syria in the ancient Silk Road and will help in boosting bilateral cooperation with China and multilateral cooperation with other countries.

Feng added that the cooperation between the two countries provides the greatest contribution to the economic reconstruction and social development of Syria and it also enhances the harmonization between the BRI and the eastward strategy proposed by Syria.

The ambassador said the BRI is in line with the desire of the world for broad economic participation, noting that the initiative has become the biggest international cooperation platform in the world.

Syria had been struggled in wars in the past decade, so the major task for the Syrian government was to safeguard national sovereignty. Now it has entered a stage of reconstruction, and its decision to sign the MOU with China at this time shows its sincerity and huge political trust in China, Yin Gang, a researcher at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Yin noted that the Chinese government always showed support to the Syrian government during wars, which also lays a good political basis for the two sides’ cooperation under the BRI.

Syria’s signing of the MOU on BRI came amid the intensive visits of six other Middle East countries’ foreign ministers to China: foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain along with the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef bin Falah al-Hajrah kicked off a five-day visit to China since Monday and foreign ministers of Turkey and Iran are also scheduled to visit China on Wednesday and Friday at the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Yin said that Wang Yi is expected to reiterate China’s support to Iran over the nuclear issue when meeting with the Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The two sides would also talk about the specific implementation of projects under the 25-year cooperation agreement, said Zhou Rong, a senior researcher at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. “After Iran takes a strategy of ‘Look East,’ China’s investment to and trade with the country exceeds the total of that from Japan, South Korea and India. China never yields to pressure from the US,” Zhou noted. -The Daily Mail-Global Times News Exchange Item