BEIJING: Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met Iran’s oil minister in Beijing on Friday, pledging continued cooperation with Tehran to “protect global security”, state television reported.
Massoud Mirkazemi arrived in Beijing on Thursday seeking new investments in Iran’s energy sector, including funding for new refineries, according to the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency Shana. But Friday’s state television report made no mention of any agreements.
“China is willing... to maintain dialogue, communication and coordination with Iran on major international and regional issues and to protect regional and global peace and stability,” Li told Mirkazemi.
In recent years Beijing has emerged as Iran’s main economic partner, filling the gaps in the country’s energy sector left by western firms forced out by international sanctions.
China backed the fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear ambitions, but Beijing has consistently urged world powers to resolve the crisis diplomatically.
Last week, it opposed the latest unilateral sanctions on Iran imposed by the European Union, which are also designed to strike at the vital energy sector, as well as its banking and transport segments.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2010.
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