Syrian President Bashar al-Assad arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou on Thursday for a multi-day visit in his first trip to the country since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.
According to the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, Al-Assad would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on Saturday.
Besides bilateral talks, al-Assad has also been invited to a banquet hosted by Xi, with guests including Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah and South Korea’s Prime Minister Han Duck Soo.
The 19th Asian Games, which run until October 8, would see athletes from more than 40 Asian countries compete in 61 events.
The last visit by al-Assad to China was in 2004.
China, along with Iran and Russia, have been supporting al-Assad since the uprising against his rule in 2011.