Egyptian President Morsi makes state visit to China

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mohamed Morsi (left) pictured in June.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, began an official state visit to China last Tuesday. This is Morsi’s first state visit outside the Middle East since taking office in June this year.

The trip is seen by analysts as an attempt to forge stronger economic and diplomatic ties with Beijing, and to access Chinese capital and expertise. Events scheduled for the visit include meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and prominent business figures. It is expected the two countries will agree to cooperate on a number of large infrastructure projects, including desalination and power generation — with this hoped to boost Egypt’s faltering economy. China has made an increasing number of foreign investments in recent years, in an attempt to increase its international standing. Trade between the two countries increased by 40% between 2008 and 2011 to US$ 8.8 billion.

Egypt continues to receive over US$ 1 billion annually in aid from the United States; however, the funds are believed to not come without conditions. Academic Peter Mandaville, of Georgetown University, suggested that Morsi’s visit was part of a “[…] broader effort by Egypt to signal that it’s going to diversify its portfolio of relationships”.