Chinese vice president meets Iran's foreign minister

09:04, May 25, 2011      

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Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Beijing, capital of China, May 24, 2011. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Tuesday, pledging to work closely with Teheran on the bilateral relationship.

Salehi came to Beijing on Sunday for a three-day visit, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-Iran diplomatic ties.

Xi welcomed Salehi to China, his first since becoming foreign minister in January, saying the visit reflects the tremendous attention Iran gives to its relationship with China.

"I learned that you have had talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on bilateral issues as well as international and regional issues of common concern, and I am glad to hear that your talks were productive," Xi said.

Salehi extended greetings from Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to Xi, saying China occupies an important place in the hearts of the Iranian people.

The former head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization recalled his two previous visits to China, marvelling at the great changes in the country.

Xi said China was satisfied with its ties with Iran, saying both countries had deepened political trust, boosted economic cooperation and maintained close coordination in regional and international issues over the years.

Xi reaffirmed China's continuous attention to Iran's role, saying China would like to work with Iran to keep the good momentum of bilateral relationship and better benefit the two peoples.

Salehi echoed Xi's comments on bilateral relations, saying Iran would like to seek stronger cooperation with China in trade, economic and other areas.

Xi and Salehi also exchanged views on the situation in west Asia and north Africa.

During his talks with Yang on Monday, Salehi invited China to send experts to see its nuclear facilities, in a fresh effort to persuade the world that its atomic activities should not attract sanctions.

China did not respond to the invitation immediately, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told Tuesday's news briefing that "China will take it into serious consideration."

Jiang again called on Iran to start a new round of nuclear talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (G5+1) at an early date.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have engaged in on-and-off talks with Iran aimed at halting the disputed uranium enrichment program.

After a new round of talks failed in Istanbul in January, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton sent a letter to Tehran inviting Iranian officials to return to the negotiating table.

During his stay in Beijing, Salehi also delivered a speech at the China Institute of International Studies.

Iran foreign chief left Beijing for Iran Tuesday night.

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Source: Xinhua
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