Syria's Assad to visit China '\'soon'\'
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad will "soon" visit China, becoming the first Syrian head of state to do so since the countries established diplomatic relations in 1956, China's envoy to the Middle East said in Damascus.
"The two sides are busy preparing the visit which will surely be a success," Wang Shijie told a press conference.
He declined, however, to give a date or duration for the visit, but a diplomatic source told AFP it would take place "before the end of June".
Asked about the sanctions which Washington imposed on Syria on May 11, Wang said, "China rejects the fact that sanctions are being used as a way of resolving problems between states."
The trade balance between China and Syria has risen to 520 million dollars, from less than 100 million dollars before 2000, Wang said.
He was visiting Damascus in the framework of a tour of the region focused on the Middle East peace process which he said was "encountering great difficulties".
Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam visited China in May 2001, following a visit by his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in January of the same year. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)