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Beijing seeking to increase investment in Iran's energy sector: Chinese official

By Maryam Bahmani, Tehran Times

TEHRAN - The Chinese president's special representative for the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, Tong Xiaoling, has said that China will maintain its ties with Iran, especially in the energy sector. 

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Ms. Tong, who is also the Chinese ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), made the remarks in an interview with the Tehran Times on Monday on the sidelines of the 9th ministerial meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), which was held in Tehran on Monday and Tuesday. 

The ACD is a continent-wide forum which aims to constitute the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian community without duplicating other organizations or creating a bloc against others. A key principle is to consolidate Asian strengths and fortify Asia's competitiveness by maximizing the diversity and rich resources evident in Asia. 

Following is the text of the interview: 

Q: What is China's policy on the UN and U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran? 

A: Our policy is very clear. We conduct our foreign policy based on mutual respect and not interfering in each other's domestic affairs. And also we are in cooperation with other countries. So the energy cooperation between China and Iran is also directed along these lines. We will continue to develop cooperative relations with Iran. 

The energy cooperation between China and the Islamic Republic of Iran has been very deep. We will continue our cooperation with Iran. It is a mutually beneficial cooperation, not only in the interests of Iran, but for both countries and peoples. 

Q: Does China still plan to invest in Iran's energy sector? 

A: Yes, many Chinese companies are looking for opportunities in investment in Iran's energy sector. There are a few large Chinese companies that have held discussions with Iranian oil companies and counterparts on the possibilities of future cooperation, and some cooperation is on the way already. 

Q: How much progress has China made in achieving the ACD objectives? 

A: China is the prime mover of agriculture. We have hosted a series of forums on agricultural technology subjects. Also, we have participated in the area of poverty reduction. For the last three years, China has hosted three seminars on poverty reduction, and we are very successful in this area. We are committed to continuing to host some projects and activities in the future. 

Q: Do you view the ACD process as a progressive forum? Has it made significant achievements? 

A: The ACD process is a valuable process for understanding and promoting trust among Asian countries. It is also good for establishing solidarity, unity, and integrity in Asia. We see this process as important for Asian countries to unite together and raise their voice on the international and global stage. It is also important for people to have contact and social exchange. We commend the achievements made by the ACD process over the past eight years. 

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