China's Xi pledges billions in loans, aid to Arab nations

July 10, 2018 - 1:15 am

BEIJING (AP) — China's President Xi Jinping has pledged more than $23 billion in lines of credit, loans and humanitarian assistance to Arab countries in a major push for influence in the region.

Xi told participants in a conference of Arab leaders in Beijing on Tuesday that Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon would receive $91 million in humanitarian assistance.

Xi said another $151 million was earmarked for aid projects, with the remaining $23 billion designated for financial and economic cooperation. No details were given about how or when the money would be dispersed.

China has expanded its influence among Arab states for economic purposes, as well as to counter the influence of Washington and Europe. Most notably it has provided diplomatic support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in the country's seven-year civil war.

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