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Egypt's Sisi gets red-carpet welcome in China, discusses infrastructure projects

Beijing is hosting leaders from Egypt, the Gulf and Syria this week for the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, another example of strengthening ties.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) walks next to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as they review the honour guard during a welcome ceremony for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the Great Hall of the People on May 29, 2024, in Beijing, China.

Egypt and China announced a new partnership initiative on Wednesday during President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit, in what could be one of a series of developments between Beijing and the Arab world this week.

Sisi is in Beijing for the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, a dialogue initiative between China and Arab League member states. The forum attended by tens of senior Arab officials, began on Tuesday and will conclude on Saturday. Chinese President Xi Jinping will address the forum on Thursday. In addition to Sisi, attendees include Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Tunisian President Kais Saied and United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sisi arrived in Beijing on Wednesday, receiving a red-carpet welcome.

Xi and Sisi discussed bilateral relations and ways to strengthen cooperation, as well as international issues, and declared 2024 a year of partnership. The following items, among others, were discussed during the meeting, according to state media in both countries.

  • Chinese involvement in Egyptian infrastructure projects, including the New Administrative Capital and the Cairo Light Rail Transit
  • Egypt’s desire to host a future Arab-China summit
  • Egypt’s adherence to the “One China” policy with regard to Taiwan
  • The Chinese-funded Luban Workshop vocational training program in Egypt
  • The BRICS group
  • The war in Gaza

China and Egypt additionally signed agreements related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative for infrastructure during the visit, the Associated Press reported.

Why it matters: Egypt-China ties have seen their ties grow closer under Sisi. The People’s Republic is a major investor in the North African country. A consortium that includes the China Railway Engineering Corporation built the $1.24 billion Cairo Light Rail Transit electric train, inaugurated in 2022. China is a major funder of Egypt’s $59 billion New Administrative Capital urban community being built outside of Cairo.

Earlier this month, the Chinese tech giant Huawei launched a public cloud service in Egypt. Moreover, the state-run China Development Bank loaned Egypt’s Central Bank $956 million last November.

Trade between Egypt and China amounted to $13.9 billion in 2023, down from $16.6 billion the year prior, according to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Know more: UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will arrive in China on Thursday for the forum, following a two-day visit to South Korea for the signing of a major trade deal.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad met his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations, Syria’s official SANA news outlet reported.

On Tuesday, Wang met Yemeni Foreign Minister Shayea Mohsen Al-Zindani, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was forced to cancel his trip to China this month due to the health of his father, King Salman.