China-Iran high-level meeting highlights comprehensive cooperation, ‘dispels rumor of rift in bilateral ties’
Published: Dec 14, 2022 09:29 PM Updated: Dec 15, 2022 12:00 AM
China Iran photo:VCG

China Iran photo:VCG

 China views its ties with Iran from a strategic perspective and will not waver in its determination to develop their comprehensive strategic partnership, said Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua when meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Iran's capital Tehran on Tuesday. 

Given that the meeting highlighted the consensus on deepening bilateral relations and comprehensive cooperation, Chinese observers said it could effectively help dispel some noises that are trying to drive a wedge between the two countries.

During the meeting, Hu said that China views its ties with Iran from a strategic perspective and will not waver in its determination to develop their comprehensive strategic partnership, noting that China firmly supports Iran in opposing external interference and safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

China, he said, stands ready to work with Iran to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, make joint efforts to advance the implementation of the China-Iran comprehensive cooperation plan, and push for new progress in bilateral practical cooperation.

Hu conveyed Chinese President Xi Jinping's cordial greetings and best wishes to Raisi, and briefed the Iranian president on the major achievements and far-reaching significance of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October.

Xi and Raisi had a phone conversation in July and held a meeting in September, in which they reached important consensus on deepening China-Iran relations.

For his part, Raisi said Iran and China enjoy a traditional friendship and bilateral ties are of important strategic significance. No matter how the international and regional landscapes change, Iran will remain firmly committed to deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, the Iranian president noted.

Raisi also said Iran, which has always been a trustworthy partner of China, stands ready to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, actively implement the bilateral comprehensive cooperation plan, continuously boost all-round cooperation, and deliver more cooperation outcomes.

On the same day, Hu also held talks with Iranian first vice president Mohammad Mokhber, where they exchanged in-depth views on implementing the comprehensive cooperation plan between China and Iran and promoting bilateral practical cooperation.

In March 2021, China and Iran signed a major 25-year agreement to enhance comprehensive cooperation in a range of fields including trade. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that under the deal, the two sides would tap the potentials in economic and cultural cooperation and make plans for long-term cooperation, according to Xinhua.

Hu's visit will undoubtedly further push forward bilateral ties and boost comprehensive cooperation, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.  

The observer said that since the signing of the 25-year deal, China-Iran ties have entered a new stage of development, and the two countries have been making steady progress in economic and trade cooperation. 

Also, in September, China congratulated Iran on its upcoming full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and expressed its willingness to strengthen coordination and cooperation within the SCO framework, Xinhua reported.

The meeting between Hu and Raisi came after Xi concluded his trip on Saturday after attending the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit (GCC) and paying a state visit to Saudi Arabia.

China's series of high-level meetings in the Middle East region all have yielded fruitful outcomes and enhanced China's relations with the region, Qian said.

The observer said that for a long time, relations between some GCC countries and Iran have fluctuated due to religious and ethnic issues and geographical and security disputes.

Therefore, some Western media, using the tensions between GCC countries and Iran, has been trying to drive a wedge between China and Iran. 
Hu's visit could help dispel the noise, Qian said, noting that China is a positive force for peace and stability for the Middle East, and has won widespread praise in the region for upholding justice rather than playing a game of balance of power.

The series of high-level visits to the region reflect that China has strong will to develop a good relationship with Middle Eastern powers including Iran and Saudi Arabia. While recognizing that the situation in the region is complicated, China is trying to play a role of being an active contributor to regional peace, Qian said.

The GCC countries and Iran are all China's friends, and neither China-GCC relations nor China-Iran relations are targeted at any third party, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Monday's press briefing. China supports the GCC countries in improving relations with Iran based on the principle of good-neighborly friendship, conducting win-win cooperation with Iran and jointly promoting the development and stability in the Persian Gulf. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in this regard, Wang said.