He Guoqiang, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), arrived in the central Iranian province of Isfahan on Thursday afternoon, kicking off an official visit to the Islamic Republic, which is designed to further strengthen the bilateral political and economic relations.
“During my visit, I’ll meet with Iranian leaders on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common concern to promote mutual understanding and strengthen the traditional friendship between our two countries,” said the Chinese leader in a written statement issued upon arrival.
China hopes to work together with Iran to “push the bilateral relationship further ahead,” he added.
China and Iran established diplomatic relations in 1971 and bilateral relations have developed steadily in recent years.
He, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, is the second senior CPC official to visit Iran in less than a year.
Li Changchun, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, paid a visit to Iran last September.
The visits underlined the close political and economic relations between China and Iran as Tehran has been engaged in bitter diplomatic clashes with the United States and some other Western countries over its nuclear program.
The West alleged that Iran has been seeking a covert nuclear arms project and slapped harsh sanctions against the country, but Tehran repeatedly says its nuclear endeavor is solely for peaceful purpose.
China, while respecting the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council against Iran, opposes some of the more harsh punishments taken by Western countries and has maintained business and trade relations with Iran. China also calls for a peaceful solution to the Iran nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation.
He said in the statement that Iran, as a major country in the Middle East, has adopted a proactive foreign policy and played an important role in regional affairs.
“China values its relations with Iran and is willing to expand friendly cooperation in all areas through joint efforts on the principle of mutual respect, win-win and common development,” he said.