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Xi to outline peace hopes during Middle East visit

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Core Tip:President Xi Jinping left Beijing Tuesday morning to visit Middle East. He will elaborate on China's policies to boost peace anddevelopment in the Middle East during his first overseas trip of the year, which starts on Tuesday.

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President Xi Jinping left Beijing Tuesday morning to visit Middle EastHe will elaborate on China's policies to boost peace anddevelopment in the Middle East during his first overseas trip of the yearwhich starts on Tuesday.

This was disclosed at a media briefing in Beijing on Monday by Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Mingwho also said Xi will outline China'smeasures for pragmatic cooperation.

Observers have voiced high hopes for the president's schedulewhich is aimed at reinvigorating the conflict-plagued regionincluding hisspeech on Middle East policy and possible outcomes regarding China's Belt and Road Initiative.

During his state visits to Saudi ArabiaEgypt and IranXi will also visit the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo and deliver a speechthereZhang said.

The tripwhich covers the three major players in the regionwas announced last week.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Egypt and of China-Arab ties.

A joint statement on setting up a China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership will be issued during Xi's visit to the kingdom,Zhang said.

Zhang also said major international and regional issues will be discussed during the visits to the three countries.

Wu Sikea former Chinese special envoy for Middle East affairssaid doubts had been raised over Xi's visit to the regionand his trip willshow that China's policies toward the area "have been tested by time and the evolving situation".

Wu said Xi's initiatives on co-building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road — proposed in 2013 — havereceived proactive responses from the regionincluding from Saudi ArabiaEgypt and Iran.

Nourhan al-Sheikha professor of political sciences at Cairo Universitytold Xinhua News Agency, "Arab-Chinese ties are stable and farfrom any tensionsdisagreements or contradictions in political positions."

In a signed article published on Monday in the Saudi newspaper Al RiyadhXi said that it is hoped that Saudi Arabia will become "animportant participantbuilder and beneficiary of the Belt and Road".

Li Shaoxiana senior expert in Middle East studies at Ningxia University in YinchuanNingxia Hui autonomous regionsaid that Iran hasbeen one of the "most honest supportersof the Belt and Road Initiativeand the country is witnessing sanctions being lifted by theinternational community.

"As it undertakes rebuildingit expects international participation in its domestic economic development," Li said.


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