Xi to Build Consensus

Xi to Build Consensus  Xi to Build Consensus

Chinese President Xi Jinping was due to arrive in Iran on Friday – the last leg of his first tour of the Middle East with stops also at Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This is the first visit to Iran by a Chinese president since 2002.

It comes as the US and EU lifted sanctions on Iran a week ago and the nation is now able to re-engage with the global economy.  China’s relationship with Iran is an important part of its overall ties with the Middle East. China and Iran have seen a series of high-level visits over the past two years and Xi’s trip is also a reciprocal one for the visit to China by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in May 2014.

The two countries maintained friendly cooperation when western countries imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program and they have close connections in energy security, economic partnership and strategic cooperation. Over the past seven years China has been Iran’s top trading partner and about 100 Chinese companies have a presence in Iran.

As an influential country in the region, Iran is an important outpost in the China-proposed “One Belt, One Road” initiative and also a key partner to promote the initiative. During Xi’s visit, the two sides are expected to deepen their consensus and bring notable outcomes in this regard. This will help build a corridor that connects China with Central Asia, Iran, West Asia and Europe, and reinvigorate the social and economic development of Asia and Europe, wrote Chinese publication the Global Times.