Top Chinese official starts 4-nation tour

Updated: 2012-09-10 08:02

By Zhu Zhe in Teheran (China Daily)

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China's top legislator Wu Bangguo arrived in Teheran on Sunday, kicking off a two-week visit to four Asia-Pacific countries.

Analysts said the tour, which will also take him to Myanmar, Sri Lanka and the South Pacific island country of Fiji, is aimed at consolidating traditional friendships and deepening political and economic ties.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress and also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, arrived in Teheran at 3:10 pm to start the first visit in 16 years by China's top legislator to the country.

In a speech delivered upon his arrival, Wu said since China and Iran established diplomatic relations in 1971, bilateral cooperation has progressed smoothly and brought benefits to both peoples.

He said China is willing to enhance mutual understanding and trust with Iran, and expand cooperation between the two countries.

Wu is scheduled to hold talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Parliament leader Ali Larijani and Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi during his three-day stay in the country to further exchange views on bilateral ties and international and regional issues.

Experts said Wu is expected to pass on China's consistent and clear position on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation and push Iran to adopt a more flexible and pragmatic way to solve the nuclear issue through multilateral talks.

Dong Manyuan, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Institute of International Studies, said Wu's visit would probably yield a "fruitful outcome".

"China and Iran have focused on mutual benefit to enhance bilateral ties. So I believe the development future is very promising," Dong said.

In Myanmar, one of the major purposes of Wu's visit is to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership amid new and complex situations in the Southeast Asian country.

Since the installation of the new Myanmar government on March 30, 2011, a series of reform measures have been adopted, including the liberalization of the media in August.

Experts said Wu may also urge Myanmar to ensure the implementation of some major cooperation projects between the two neighbors and protect the legitimate interests of Chinese investors.

China called for talks with Myanmar after it suspended a $3.6 billion Chinese-led dam project in Myitsone, Myanmar's largest hydropower project, citing complaints from local residents and opposition parties. The future of the project has not been settled.

Wu's trips to Sri Lanka and Fiji will be the first ever visits to the two countries by China's top legislator.

It is expected that the visits will result in closer cooperation in international and regional affairs, more investment and trade.

Wang Chenyan in Beijing contributed to this story.

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