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China’s Xi enlists support of Iran for Silk Road revival
January 24, 2016, 5:50 am

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with the top Iranian leadership including  President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran on 23 January 2016 [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with the top Iranian leadership including President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, Iran on 23 January 2016 [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded a crucial trip to the Middle East, returning back to Beijing on Sunday morning from Tehran after China and Iran agreed to increase bilateral trade more than 10-fold to $600 billion in the next decade.

The top leadership in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran assented to joining China’s ambitious Silk Road and Belt project during Xi’s trip.

Iran and China signed 17 accords on Saturday, including on cooperation in nuclear energy and the “One Belt, One Road”.

Xi said last year he hoped its annual trade with the countries involved in Beijing’s plan to create a modern Silk Road would surpass $2.5 trillion in a decade.

Under the so-called “One Belt, One Road” initiative, China aims to create a modern Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to boost trade and extend its global influence.

“The China-Iran friendship is originated from friendly exchanges in history, from mutual assistance in difficult times, from unselfish support to each other on major issues, and from our concepts of mutually-beneficial cooperation. It has stood the test of the vicissitudes of the international landscape,” Xi said in Iran.

Xi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after Iran emerged from years of economic isolation this month when western countries lifted economic sanctions against the country.

“Iran and China have agreed to increase trade to $600 billion in the next 10 years. Iran and China have agreed on forming strategic relations (as) reflected in a 25-year comprehensive document,” Rouhani said after meeting Xi.

Xi also met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Iranians never trusted the West… That’s why Tehran seeks cooperation with more independent countries (like China),” a post on the official website of Khamenei quoted him as saying.

“Iran is the most reliable country in the region for energy since its energy policies will never be affected by foreigners,” Khamenei said.

Xi’s BRICS partner, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Tehran in November.

 

TBP and Agencies

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