On April 20, 2002, President Jiang Zemin, on a state visit to Iran, held talks with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in Tehran. They had an in-depth exchange of views on Sino-Iranian relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Extending the warmest welcome to President Jiang on behalf of the Iranian people, Khatami termed the Chinese people as great people, saying that Iranian people cherish deep feelings toward the Chinese people. China has witnessed quick development in economic and social areas, while its international status has been rising steadily. To maintain and develop friendly relations and cooperation with China occupies a special and important place in Iran's external relations. President Jiang's visit will certainly enhance bilateral relations.
Jiang said both China and Iran are nations with ancient civilizations, noting that ancestors of the countries started exchanges through the Silk Road more than two thousand years ago, and contributed to the development of world civilization. The two countries have enhanced and developed friendly cooperation in political, economical and trade and cultural areas since they established diplomatic relations 30 years ago. Both China and Iran are developing countries and share identical or similar views on a series of major international and regional issues. Further enhancing cooperation in regional and world affairs, which is in line with the fundamental interests of both nations, will contribute to maintaining regional and international peace and stability.
On bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Jiang pointed out that China and Iran have achieved remarkable progress in the area, with the volume increasing on a yearly basis and the scope of economical and technological cooperation expanding constantly. The Chinese government attaches great importance to China-Iran economic and trade ties and supports Chinese enterprises to conduct economic cooperation and trade of various forms with the Iranian side on the basis of equality and mutual benefits. Bilateral economies are highly complementary. China is ready to promote this relationship to a new high in the future through mutual efforts.
Khatami spoke highly of recent achievements in Iran-China economic cooperation and trade. He thinks that it benefits both for Chinese enterprises to take an active part in Iran's economic development. Iran hopes to further expand mutually beneficial cooperation with China and welcomes Chinese enterprises to invest in and set up plants in Iran.
Jiang said China supports President Khatami's initiative of dialogue among different civilizations, and China is ready to take an active part in such dialogue. Jiang pointed out that in the thousands of years of civilization history, it remains the mainstream of human progress and the major force promoting the development of civilizations that different civilizations learn from, exchange with, and integrate into each other. China is ready to promote dialogue, cooperation and exchanges among different civilizations with Iran and other countries in a bid to establish a new and just political and economic world order and work to promote human peace and development.
On current international situation and China's foreign policy, Jiang stressed that despite the complexity in the international situation, peace and development remain the main theme of the times and the trend of multi-polarization develops with twists and turns. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace and advocates maintenance of sovereign independence, territorial integrity and national dignity. China is against any form of hegemony or terrorism so as to maintain the world peace and to promote the common development. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, are equal members of the international community, and global issues should be peacefully solved through negotiation instead of resorting to force or threatening to use force. China is ready to enhance solidarity and cooperation with developing countries and to maintain their common legitimate rights. China sticks to the reform and opening up policy, and is ready to increase exchanges and cooperation in economic, trade, technology and cultural sectors with all other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefits so as to promote common development.
Khatami said China and Iran have identical or similar views on major international issues. The Iranian side holds that only when the rights and interests of all peoples in the world are respected and the principle of justice upheld in international affairs, can the world enjoy lasting peace and stability. Iran is opposed to terrorism and violence in any forms and manifestations and is ready to develop relations with other countries in the world and contribute to easing tensions in the international situation.
On the Afghan issue, Khatami expressed his satisfaction with the peaceful development of situation in the country. He stressed that relevant parties should continue to work for lasting peace. Jiang said that both China and Iran are neighbors of Afghanistan. Both hope that Afghanistan can achieve lasting peace and development. China appreciates Iran's active efforts in reaching a political settlement of the Afghan issue. Afghanistan has stepped onto the track of national reconciliation and reconstruction under the concerted efforts of different factions of Afghanistan and the international community. The Afghan peace process still faces many obstacles and challenges. Afghanistan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity should be fully respected to ensure the smooth development of the peac process. The international community should pay full attention to Afghanistan and help rebuild the nation quickly. China supports the United Nations' important role in peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue, adding China is ready to participate actively in Afghanistan's post-war reconstruction.
Khatami aired Iran's viewpoint on the gulf situation, saying Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected, while Iraq should implement relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council and the relating issues should be resolved through political means. Iran is opposed to military interference in Iraq by any country. Jiang said the issues left over by the Gulf war, including the sanctions against Iraq, have long been left unsolved and greatly affected the security and development of this region. This is not only against the basic interests of the Gulf countries, but also runs counter to the world peace and stability at large. In recent years, relevant countries have worked to improve their relations and achieved remarkable progress. China hopes this momentum continues to be maintained and the issues left over by the Gulf War should be properly handled at an early date, in line with relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council.
On the Iraqi issue, Jiang said China's stand is that Iraq should strictly implement relevant resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, restore its cooperation with the United Nations and realize the good-neighborly relations through practical action. Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected. The Security Council should undertake objective appraisal of Iraq's implementation of these resolutions and lift the sanctions accordingly at an early date so as to ease the sufferings of the Iraqi people. China, as permanent member of the Security Council, will continue to play a positive role in helping solve the issues.
On the situation in Central Asia, Jiang said China is Central Asia's close neighbor and has always been concerned about the regional situation. In recent years, the overall situation in Central Asia has been stable and various countries have made unremitting efforts and great progress in safeguarding national independence and sovereignty, achieving reconciliation among ethnic groups, and revitalize the national economy. China hopes the stability will be maintained in the region and economy will be developed. Khatami agreed with Jiang's viewpoint on Central Asia's situation, saying all countries in this region hope to develop in stable and peaceful environment.
On the Middle East situation, Jiang said the Chinese government and people are deeply worried about the Middle East tension, and denounced Israel's military strike against Palestine and the siege of President Yasser Arafat. China has strongly requested Israel to implement relevant resolutions of the Security Council and withdraw from the Palestinian areas. China, as permanent member of the Security Council, will continue to work to ease the regional tension and make its due efforts to promote the Middle East peace process. Khatami said the Palestinian people are suffering unprecedented misery, thus he asked the international community to be more concerned about the Palestinian issue.
Both sides also discussed other issues of shared concern.
After the talks, China and Iran signed six documents, respectively on oil and gas cooperation, on avoidance of double taxation, on post, telecommunications and information technology cooperation, on maritime transportation, on the implementation of plans for 2003-2005 cultural exchanges, and on the establishment of a joint business council. Jiang and Khatami attended the signing ceremony.