According to local news, the Industry Minister Emad Hoballah stated on Thursday, June 18th, “There is consensus in the cabinet to go East and we will meet as ministers to draw up a plan for that soon.”
It seems that Lebanon might actually make the shift from the West towards the East to fill the economic gap, a decision that has been looming for months.
In May, Lebanese Culture Minister Abbas Mortada and Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian both signed an agreement “aimed at creating cultural centers in both countries,” reported Xinhua Net, a China’s state-run news agency.
More on establishing cultural exchanges, in his article on why AUB deserves aid from the United States, Washington Post’s foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius held that China will seize the opportunity to make a partnership through the university if the US did not.
However, in its article Is it China’s turn to wield influence over Lebanon?, Arab News reported that “Zhang Jian Wei, the director-general of the Department of West Asia and North Africa at the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, said:
“We do not intend to replace the United States in Lebanon and we do not have the capacity to do so because China is still a developing country. Even if China becomes more developed economically, it will not seek to fill any vacuum in Lebanon.”
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