Xi says China, Egypt hold ‘similar visions and strategies’

BEIJING (AP) — China and Egypt “share similar visions and strategies in defending their own interests,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Saturday during a meeting with Egypt’s authoritarian president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

Xi “praised increased political trust” between the countries, citing cooperation in fighting the pandemic. Their comprehensive strategic partnership is a model of “China-Arab, China-Africa and China-developing global solidarity,” Xi said, according to CGTN, the international arm of state broadcaster CCTV.

The Beijing meeting comes as el-Sisi’s government seeks closer ties with China, while distancing itself from the US and other Western states critical of its human rights record.

“China and Egypt share similar visions and strategies in defending their own interests, pursuing common development, improving the well-being of their people and promoting fairness and justice in the world as the world undergoes changes that century are unseen,” Xi said.

The parties will “continue to support each other on issues related to core interests and concerns,” he said.

Since taking power, el-Sissi has overseen a widespread crackdown on dissent and opposition, imprisoning tens of thousands and leveling off international criticism.

In 2017, the government arrested dozens of Uyghur students studying at Al-Azhar University in Cairo and deported them to China amid Beijing’s brutal crackdown on Muslim minorities.

Egypt received several free shipments of China-made Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines and China says it has helped set up Africa’s first vaccine production in the country.

El-Sissi is one of more than 30 world leaders and heads of major international organizations who have flown to Beijing for the opening of the Winter Olympics on Friday.

Xi has not left China since 2019 amid the pandemic and is holding a series of sidelines to the Games with leaders whose countries are eager to strengthen relations with the emerging superpower.

By Saturday afternoon, Xi had also met with heads of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Serbia. The leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, Qatar, and Poland are also among those in the city.

The meetings follow a mini-summit between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, which underlined the growing alignment of the positions of their authoritarian countries as they oppose the liberal world order dominated by the US.

The two leaders oversaw the signing of more than 20 agreements in trade, energy and other areas and issued a joint statement in which China supported Russia’s opposition to NATO enlargement, a move seen as a sign of Xi’s growing perception of himself as a world leader.

“President Putin stressed that the strategic significance of relations between Russia and China is unprecedented,” Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in a commentary on the meeting posted on the ministry’s website.

“Russia strongly supports China’s legitimate position to protect its core interests,” Le said. “During the talks, the two heads of state reiterated that any attempt to harm the interests of China and Russia and divide relations between China and Russia is doomed to fail.”

While China formally eschews all military alliances, the parties have held a series of joint war games, including naval exercises and long-range bomber patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan and the East China Sea. In August, Russian troops deployed for the first time on Chinese territory for joint maneuvers.

Putin has also noted that Russia has shared highly sensitive military technologies with China that have helped significantly bolster its defense capability.

In his meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Saturday, Xi said China is “unwavering in its support for Kazakhstan’s safeguarding of its own independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

China provided strong support to Tokayev’s government during deadly street protests last month, although unlike Russia, it did not send troops to help restore order.

“China is poised to deepen security cooperation with Kazakhstan,” Xi said, according to CGTN.

Tokayev “thanks China for supporting Kazakhstan’s efforts to reject external interference and maintain its own security and stability,” CGTN said.

Xi’s meetings with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic were equally optimistic, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xi praised the “cast-iron friendship” between China and Serbia and said the two countries enjoy “high-level political mutual trust”.

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