ALGIERS, Algeria — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune began a state visit to China on Monday, with both economic and diplomatic priorities as the North African nation looks to become less gas-dependent and raise its global profile.
The visit follows Tebboune's trip last month to Russia, a long-time partner and military provider, although Algeria has remained officially neutral in Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Tebboune spent two days in Qatar before landing in Beijing on Monday. A large delegation accompanied Tebboune to China, reflecting a drive for deeper cooperation beyond the economy.
Tebboune is also looking for concrete support for Algerian membership in BRICS, an economic bloc that includes both China and Russia as well as Brazil, India and South Africa, which is hosting a summit next month. The collective was founded in 2009 when the member countries were seen as the potential engine for future global economic growth.
BRICS membership has become a diplomatic priority for Algeria with the upending of the global economy, notably due to the war in Ukraine. While in Russia in June, Tebboune offered to help mediate in the conflict.
Algeria's relationship with China reach into history. Algeria’s official press service APS underscored China's role as the first non-Arab country to recognize Algeria’s provisional government in 1958, established midway through its brutal independence war with France.
Since 2014, Algeria and China are strategic partners and have pledged to expand their cooperation in the economy, trade, energy to space and health. China has had a hand in numerous projects in Algeria, from construction of a grand mosque in the capital to an array of infrastructure projects.
In recent years, China has become the top source of Algerian imports, ahead of traditional partners France and Italy.