Back in May, in the context of moves to restore Syria to her rightful place in the Arab League, President Bashar al-Assad flew to Riyadh. Now he has flown to Hangzhou to realise even more far-reaching plans for a strategic partnership with China.
For Syria, after so many years of hard struggle to maintain her independence from imperialism, these are very welcome developments indeed.
It will be remembered that, having failed in its attempt to oust the government of President Assad by means of a proxy war fought out by rival jihadi gangs in the pay of the United States, Britain, the Gulf states and Turkey, imperialism has continued the war by other means – namely, by the imposition of a very heavy sanctions regime putting a drag on Syrian reconstruction efforts and greatly increasing the country’s economic problems.
The economic burdens the Syrians have to bear are real and urgent, which is why the economic assistance now being offered by China is so welcome.
But the Chinese promise of assistance in the reconstruction of Syria’s infrastructure is just one part of the very wide-ranging strategic partnership that China and Syria jointly announced on Friday in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.
We reproduce the statement in full below.
Xi, Assad jointly announce China-Syria strategic partnership
Chinese president Xi Jinping and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad on Friday jointly announced the establishment of a China-Syria strategic partnership.
The two presidents met in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, ahead of the opening of the 19th Asian Games, scheduled for Saturday.
Syria was one of the first Arab countries that established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and was one of the countries that co-sponsored the resolution to restore the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations, Xi said.
Over the 67 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the China-Syria relationship has stood the test of changes in the international situation, and their friendship has grown stronger over time, he said.
Xi noted that the establishment of the strategic partnership will be an important milestone in the history of bilateral ties.
China is willing to work with Syria to enrich their relationship and continuously advance the China-Syria strategic partnership, Xi said.
Xi emphasized that China will continue to work with Syria to firmly support each other on issues concerning the two sides’ respective core interests and major concerns, safeguard the common interests of both countries and other developing countries, and uphold international fairness and justice.
China supports Syria in opposing foreign interference, rejecting unilateralism and bullying, and safeguarding national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.
China supports Syria in conducting reconstruction, enhancing counterterrorism capacity building, and promoting a political settlement of the Syrian issue following the “Syrian-led, Syrian-owned” principle, Xi said.
China also supports Syria in improving its relations with other Arab countries and playing a greater role in international and regional affairs, he added.
China is willing to strengthen Belt and Road cooperation with Syria, increase the import of high-quality agricultural products from Syria, and jointly implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilisation Initiative to make active contributions to regional and global peace and development.
Assad said that in international affairs, China has always aligned itself with international fairness and justice, and upheld international law and humanitarianism, playing an important and constructive role.
Syria highly appreciates and firmly supports the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilisation Initiative, and will actively participate in them, Assad added.
The Syrian side thanks the Chinese government for its invaluable support to the Syrian people, firmly opposes any act of interference in China’s internal affairs, and is willing to be China’s long-term and staunch friend and partner, he said.
Assad said Syria will take the establishment of the Syria-China strategic partnership as an opportunity to strengthen bilateral friendly cooperation and step up their communication and coordination in international and regional affairs.
After the talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents in areas including Belt and Road cooperation, and economic and technological cooperation.
The two sides issued a joint statement on the establishment of the strategic partnership.
Senior Chinese leaders including Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, Wang Yi and Shen Yiqin attended the activities.
US defeated in Syria, retreating across the region
The Syrian people have endured the most brutal onslaught of imperialism for 12 long years – years of war, terrorism, economic destruction and social upheaval, combined with a vicious media onslaught of imperialist propaganda lies. Yet despite all the horrors and the suffering, they refused to bow down to the immense pressure that was brought to bear against them.
Instead, they have consolidated behind their leadership and stood firm in defence of their existence as an independent, secular, multifaith, multiethnic, anti-zionist and anti-imperialist bastion in the middle east. And with the aid of its Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies, the Syrian Arab Army has routed almost all the jihadi forces that were thrown into the country by the imperialist aggressors.
The last remaining areas of occupation survive only by the protection of the US army, whose power to maintain them in place is steadily dwindling. Instead of strengthening US domination in the region by wiping out an inconvenient hold-out of Arab independence, the USA’s war on Syria has fatally undermined it.
Every western leader who pronounced that “Assad must go” in 2011 is gone. President Assad remains. Syria remains. And its allies Iran, Russia and China have become firmer friends of Syria and stronger regional influences.
Forced to accept this reality and welcome Syria back into the regional community (from which it had been ejected at the USA’s command), now even the formerly loyal feudal flunkies in the House of Saud and the Emirates are reconsidering where their best interests really lie.
Turkey’s fate has graphically underlined this conundrum. The Ottoman wannabes suffered greatly for their reckless alliance with Uncle Sam and their criminal support of the jihadi armies that were mustered against Syria. They have been forced to backtrack and to try to mend their fences.
Now it is President Assad who issues ultimatums and President Erdogan who has to listen: there will be no meeting of the two leaders until every last Turkish soldier has left the country, says Assad. And it is clear that he means it.
As a result of all this, the remaining US occupation forces are looking isolated in the extreme. Attacks on their bases by local resistance forces are becoming more frequent, and it is only a matter of time before the last of them, kept in place as US president Donald Trump so memorably pointed out “for the oil” (and the wheat), is sent packing.
With their exit, the war will finally be ended, and meaningful reconstruction of Syria’s physical and economic infrastructure can begin in earnest.
The middle east, meanwhile, has been entirely reshaped, and not in the way the USA planned.