Chinese foreign minister to visit Egypt, Tunisia this week

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China’s top diplomat Wang Yi will this week visit Egypt and Tunisia, Beijing said Thursday, as part of a four-country Africa tour before he heads to Brazil and Jamaica.

Wang’s first trip of the new year comes as China increasingly focuses on ties in the Global South, seeking to bolster its influence in regions traditionally dominated by the United States and its allies.

Wang’s visit to Egypt will follow that of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is set to meet President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo for more talks aimed at containing Israel’s war against Hamas.

No details were given on Wang’s intended agenda while he is in Cairo.

China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Xi Jinping has called for an “international peace conference” to resolve the fighting.

 

Wang’s Africa trip, which will also include Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, will take place from January 13 to 18, the foreign ministry said.

It continues a 34-year tradition of Chinese foreign ministers travelling to Africa on their first trip of a new year.

It will “continue the traditional friendship between China and Africa, and consolidate China-Africa solidarity and cooperation”, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press briefing.

From Jan. 18 to 22, Wang will then visit Brazil and Jamaica — two countries that “have the same or similar positions on many regional and international issues”, said Mao.

“We will take this opportunity to further strengthen the foundation of mutual political trust with the two countries, (and) deepen mutually beneficial friendly cooperation in various fields,” she added.

Wang’s overseas travel will coincide with a trip abroad by another top Chinese official, Premier Li Qiang, this week.

Li will from Sunday to Wednesday visit Switzerland, the foreign ministry said, where he will attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024 and carry out a state visit.

He will also visit Ireland on the invitation of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Mao said.

Diplomacy, Middle East,

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