China, Iran joint statement highlights comprehensive cooperation
Published: Feb 16, 2023 10:33 PM Updated: Feb 16, 2023 11:59 PM
China Iran photo:VCG

China Iran photo:VCG

China and Iran agreed in a joint statement issued on Thursday that the two countries will accelerate bilateral cooperation plans, and the two countries will join hands in multilateral frameworks to contribute to regional and global peace and stability. 

The statement covered politics, security and defense, economic development, education and culture issues as well as regional and international affairs, showing that the comprehensive China-Iran partnership has been developing in a "mature, stable" manner and has been resilient to geopolitical uncertainties, Zhu Yongbiao, executive director of the Research Center for the Belt and Road at Lanzhou University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The statement was released after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi wrapped up his three-day visit to China from Tuesday to Thursday, during which he met with President Xi Jinping. 

The two leaders jointly witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral cooperation documents in wide-ranging fields. 

According to the Thursday statement, the two heads of state reiterated that developing close strategic ties is a historic choice made by China and Iran as two ancient civilizations in East Asia and West Asia, and one that is in the interests of the entire region. No matter how the international situation changes, China and Iran are committed to strengthening bilateral relations and promoting comprehensive cooperation in various fields.

The two sides reiterated their support for each other on core interests and emphasized that the peace and stability of the Persian Gulf is important for global security and energy transportation. 

China and Iran agreed to further strengthen anti-terrorism cooperation and are willing to hold bilateral consultations on related issues and explore the establishment of a bilateral mechanism on anti-terrorism political consultation, according to the statement.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen strategic communication between the two countries' defense departments, carry out exchanges and cooperation between the two militaries at all levels and in various fields, and expand the scale of joint exercises and personnel training.

As for economic cooperation, trade, agriculture, industry, renewable energy and infrastructure were specified in the joint statement. 

Zhu said that Raisi's successful visit to China, his first since taking office in 2021, and the fruitful joint statement marked the consolidation and further upgrading of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Iran, based on the consensus and vision of the two heads of state and in line with the interests of the two peoples. 

He also highlighted bilateral cooperation in multilateral frameworks, namely the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and possibly BRICS.  

According to the statement, Iran's membership of the SCO will contribute to regional and international peace, security, stability and development. Iran welcomes China's initiative to expand the BRICS membership and is ready to contribute its strength.

Iran's membership could inspire more countries to join and inject new vitality into these multilateral platforms, allowing true multilateralism to flourish, analysts said. 

Zhu also noted that China-Iran relations have entered a phase of "stable and mature" development, and our partnership is not exclusive, meaning each country can develop ties with a third party, as long as any such relationship does not target the other. 

Even if the two sides have disagreements on certain issues, the major trend of cooperation, based on a strategic consensus, will not change, the expert said.