China and Egypt “share similar visions and strategies in defending their own interests”, said China’s President Xi Jinping after a meeting with his counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The Chinese leader on Saturday “hailed enhanced political trust” between the two nations, citing cooperation in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
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Their comprehensive strategic partnership is a model of “China-Arab, China-Africa, and China-developing world solidarity”, Xi said, according to CGTN, the international arm of state broadcaster CCTV.
The Beijing meeting comes as el-Sisi’s government is seeking closer ties with China as it distances itself from the United States and other Western nations critical of its human rights record.
“China and Egypt share similar visions and strategies in defending their own interests, pursuing common development, enhancing their people’s wellbeing, and promoting fairness and justice in the world, as the world is undergoing changes unseen in a century,” Xi said.
Since seizing power in Egypt in 2013, el-Sisi has overseen a widespread crackdown on dissent and opposition, jailing tens of thousands and drawing international criticism.
The Egyptian president is one of more than 30 world leaders and heads of major international organisations who flew to Beijing for Friday’s opening of the Winter Olympic Games.
Not having left China since 2019 amid the pandemic, Xi is holding a series meetings on the sidelines of the Games with leaders whose countries are anxious to strengthen relations with the rising superpower.
The meetings follow a mini-summit between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that underscored the growing alignment of their authoritarian countries’ positions as they push back against a world order dominated by the US.
The two leaders oversaw the signing of more than 20 agreements covering trade, energy and other fields, and issued a joint statement in which China backed Russia in opposing NATO’s expansion, a move seen as signifying Xi’s growing perception of himself as a global leader.
“President Putin emphasized that the strategic significance of Russia-China relations is unprecedented,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in a commentary on the meeting posted to the ministry’s website.
“During the talks, the two heads of state reiterated that any attempt to harm the interests of China and Russia and divide China-Russia relations is doomed to failure.”
While China formally eschews all military alliances, the sides have held a series of joint war games, including naval drills and patrols by long-range bombers over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. In August, Russian troops for the first time deployed to Chinese territory for joint manoeuvres.