BAGHDAD, July 7 -- The Chinese Middle East envoy said here on Monday that China will firmly stand with the Iraqis in its efforts to preserve sovereignty, independence and combat terrorism.
China's special envoy Wu Sike met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday to exchange their views on the bilateral ties and the current situation in Iraq, where the government is trying hard to fend off a Sunni onslaught and potential split-up.
Maliki appreciated China for sending Wu to his country which currently is under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, adding that it shows China's strong support for Iraq.
The prime minister said Iraq and China enjoy mutual trust and sincere friendship. He thanked the Chinese government for its input to help maintain Iraq's sovereignty and independence, pledging that Baghdad will keep boosting cooperation with Beijing in all sectors so as to further promote bilateral ties.
He also welcomed China to be part of his nation's reconstruction process, saying his government will continue to ensure safety and security of Chinese companies and their employees in Iraq, as well as their investment.
Wu said China has attached great importance to its cooperative relationship with Iraq, and is willing to work with it in making more progress as the two sides push their bilateral ties forward.
China remains steadfast in supporting the Iraqi government to protect its sovereignty and independence, and to crack down on terrorism, Wu said, adding that Beijing hoped that all sections of the Iraqi society can promote unity and consensus, and form as quickly as possible a new government that highlights inclusiveness, and can represent all political powers in the country.
The stability of Iraq is key to peace and stability of the entire Middle East, as well as that of the world, Wu said.
He said China has urged the international community to give more help to Iraq as it is in line with the common interests of all nations.
The Chinese envoy also said that China will continue to offer political, humanitarian and material assistance to the country, and hoped the Iraqi side can keep up with strong measures to ensure the safety and security of China's companies and personnel.
Almost one month ago, Iraq's Sunni militants, spearheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, an al-Qaida breakaway, launched a blitzkrieg that soon led to the debacle of Iraqi security forces, and the fallen of a large part of the country's predominantly Sunni areas.
The Iraqi government troops and the Sunni insurgents have now been at loggerheads in some key areas such as the country's second largest city of Mosul, and it is still too early to tell which side is holding the upper hand.
Currently, most of the more than 10,000 Chinese nationals have been evacuated to relatively safe and secure regions despite clashes between the government troops and advancing Sunni militants.
Some 80 percent of the Chinese, many of whom are employees with Chinese firms operating in the violence-hit country, live in the southern provinces, while the rest around the capital Baghdad and in the northern Kurdish region.
The Chinese contractors have been largely engaged in oil, electricity, telecommunications and infrastructure projects for Iraq's post-war reconstruction.