China and Iraq on December 22 agreed to establish a strategic partnership during the on-going visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to China.
The two countries issued a joint statement to the effect in Beijing, saying that the strategic partnership will help deepen bilateral cooperation in various field and promote development and prosperity in both countries.
According to the joint statement, the two sides agreed to strengthen high-level engagement, enhance strategic communication on the bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common concern to increase consensus and consolidate strategic mutual trust.
The two countries will continue to support each other firmly on issues concerning national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and security, it said.
The two countries vowed to take into consideration of each other's core interest and major concerns, and not to interfere in each other's domestic affairs, it said.
Iraq will abide by the one-China policy and support China's stance on issues related to Xinjiang. China will support Iraq's unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, said the joint statement.
The two sides condemned terrorism of all forms and pledged to support each other's efforts to maintain national security, stability and to fight against terrorism, it said.
The two sides expressed opposition to applying double standards on fighting against terrorism, and to linking terrorism with certain country, ethnic group or religion.
They also agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on international and regional affairs, and voiced support for countries in West Asia and North Africa to explore a development path in accordance with their national situation and to solve regional hot issues through dialogue and negotiation to realize regional stability and development.
With regard to regional affairs, Iraq appreciated China's just position and important role, while China supported Iraq to play a positive role, the joint statement said.
"Iraq is a major country in the Middle East. The new government attaches high importance to relations with China and hopes to make a difference in national construction after taking office. A further development of bilateral ties and cooperation is not only useful for both countries, but also for the region's stability and development," said Wu Sike, formerly China's special envoy on Middle East affairs.
Abadi's official visit to China from December 22 to 23 is his first since taking office in September 2014.
While meeting with Abadi on the afternoon of December 22, President Xi Jinping said relations between the two countries have kept a momentum of steady development in recent years.
Establishing strategic partnership will lay a solid foundation for future development of bilateral ties, Xi said, adding the two sides should take it as an opportunity to advance their relationship to a higher level.
Xi voiced support for Iraq's efforts to maintain national sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. He said China firmly supports Iraq's measures to safeguard national security and stability, and will advance cooperation in this field.
China was ready to strengthen the integration of two countries' development strategies within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative, and assist Iraq's reconstruction in energy, electricity, communication and infrastructure, Xi said.
China will encourage and support its companies to participate in the construction of large projects that will have a major impact on Iraq's development and the well-being of its people, and conduct related investment and financing cooperation, Xi said.
China will also help Iraq train professionals imperative for its economic and social development, and provide opportunities for Iraqi youths, scholars, journalists and think tank experts to visit China, the president added.
Abadi said he hoped to promote bilateral cooperation in such areas as economy, energy, electricity, communication, infrastructure and security, as well as exchanges between the two peoples through his visit.
He welcomed Chinese companies to increase investment in Iraq and pledged to provide necessary protection.
The two countries also vowed to further strengthen parliamentary exchanges in a meeting between Abadi and China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang on the afternoon of December 22.
"Legislative exchange and cooperation is an important part of the China-Iraq relationship," said Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC).
He noted that the NPC stands ready to work with the Iraqi National Assembly.
Hailing Iraq-China friendship, Abadi said the Iraqi side looks forward to closer exchanges between the two parliaments.
Abadi was invited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who held talks with Abadi on December 22.
(Xinhua News Agency December 22, 2015)