Syrian President Bashar Assad arrives in China on first visit
Syrian President Bashar Assad arrived in China on Thursday on his first visit to the country since the start of Syria's 12-year conflict during which Beijing has been one of his main backers.
China's foreign ministry said Assad would attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games, an international sports event beginning Saturday in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said Assad's visit to China would "further deepen political mutual trust and cooperation in various fields between the two countries and push bilateral relations to a new level."
She said, China and Syria have "a tradition of profound friendship," which has "maintained a healthy and stable development" over the years.
Mao added, Assad and Chinese President Xi Jinping were set to meet for "in-depth talks" on a range of issues.
According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, Assad landed in Hangzhou on Thursday.