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While pledging $23 billion in loans and aid, President Xi Jinping told members of the Arab League today that China would like to form a strategic partnership to become "the keeper of peace and stability in the Middle East, the defender of equity and justice, promoter of joint development, and good friends that learn from each other," according to the South China Morning Post.

Why it matters: As Axios' Erica Pandey has reported, China is determined to win influence in the Middle East, largely through its massive Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. And while Beijing has not been shy about developing economic partnerships in the region, Xi's comments signal a new level of political engagement.

The $23 billion includes...

  • $20 billion in loans to stimulate economic development in countries with reconstruction needs
  • $3 billion in special loans for sovereign funds
  • $150 million to support "social stability efforts" in the region
  • $90.6 million in aid to warn-torn countries like Syria and Yemen

Go deeper: China's long game for Middle East influence

Go deeper

Virginia energy giant quietly boosts McAuliffe

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 15 in Henrico, Virginia. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Virginia Democrat Terry McAuliffe has sworn off money from the Richmond company Dominion Energy. But the utility has found more subtle ways to back McAuliffe's gubernatorial bid, records show.

Driving the news: Dominion's political action committee has donated $200,000 to a murky political group called Accountability Virginia PAC, a group with ties to prominent Democrats that's been running ads attacking Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin from the right.

3 hours ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.