China to Host Iran at Regional Summit Despite Nuclear Deal Uncertainty

By Mei Manuel, May 30, 2018 01:05 AM


On Monday, the Chinese foreign ministry announced that the country will be hosting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani next month as part of a regional summit aimed at avoiding the disruption of joint projects while the international community tries to save the Iran Nuclear Deal after the US withdrawn its support.

Rouhani will be paying a working visit to China and take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. The ministry did not provide further details about his visit, but the summit for the SCO will be held on the second weekend of June in Qingdao.

Iran is currently an observer in the SCO, but it has been seeking full membership.

In the daily briefing, Chinese deputy foreign minister Zhang Hanhui said "Our hope is that China and Iran will have close consultation on the basis of observing the deal and push forward development of bilateral cooperation."

He further adds, "We should together look into how to avoid major disruption of joint projects between the two sides."

Russia had previously argued that once the Western sanctions on Tehran are lifted, it can become a full member of SCO alongside the former Soviet Central Asian republics, India and Pakistan.

In 2015, Iran and the major world powers had lifted the sanctions on the country. In return, Iran will be restricting its nuclear activities and increase the time it would need to produce an atom bomb if it does try to develop it. However, US President Donald Trump had withdrawn the country's support last month because he perceived it was deeply flawed. Europe and China have been working on ensuring Iran gets enough benefits to continue with the deal. China had also repetitively expressed its support to the deal and is one of its major signatories.

The foreign ministry had also announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan were invited to hold official bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the summit.

The summit, scheduled from June 9 to 10, aims to create new agreements on security issues like drug smuggling and counter-terrorism amongst members.

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