Leaders address Iran's thirst for growth

Updated: 2016-01-25 02:49

By Xing Zhigang in Teheran, Zhang Yunbi in Beijing(China Daily)

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A joint statement issued after the presidential talks in Teheran said China and Iran had agreed to set up an annual meeting mechanism for their foreign ministers.

The statement also said China supports Iran's application for full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Iran is one of six observer nations of the SCO, which was founded in 2001. The six full members are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Pang Sen, the Chinese ambassador to Iran, said Iran is an important hub along the Belt and Road routes because it is close to the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping channel, and the port at Bandar Abbas, one of the largest in the Gulf region.

Hua Liming, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran and now a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said Iran "made a great, proactive response" to the Chinese-proposed initiative and that the nations' friendship "has survived tests" since diplomatic relations were established in 1971.

Many Chinese enterprises "have for a long time been investing and operating in Iran", which has laid a foundation for collaboration, he said.

China has been Iran's largest trading partner for seven consecutive years and is Iran's largest crude oil market. Annual bilateral trade reached a record $51.8 billion in 2014.

Contact the writers at zhangyunbi@chinadaily.com.cn

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