BEIJING (Xinhua)–Armenia is seeking a “comprehensive development” of its friendly relationship with China in all possible fields, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said Monday in an interview with the state run Xinhua news service.
“During the negotiations in Beijing, I had a chance to discuss ways to further strengthen and deepen cooperation in a bilateral format and multilateral frameworks,” said Nalbandian, who was in China for a five-day official visit.
During his visit, Nalbandian met with Chinese Vice President XiJinping and had “substantial” and “very productive” discussions with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.
He also conveyed the congratulatory message of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to the Chinese people on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
“The first records about an Armenian presence in China date to the second century,” Nalbandyan said, ” In the times of the Great Silk Road, which passed through Armenia, Armenian merchants were playing an active role in bridging East and West.”
Armenia became independent in 1991 and China was among the first countries that recognized Armenia’s independence and among the first ones to open an embassy in Armenia.
He said Armenia and China have maintained a high-level political dialogue at the highest levels of leadership. The two countries had similar or close positions on the international scene.
“Cooperation between the parliaments is also on the rise,” he said, adding there was a solid legal base for bilateral relations.
The two countries have implemented many joint economic projects together, Nalbandian said, noting how Chinese companies have participated in the modernization and reconstruction of Armenia’s energy and mining sectors, particularly in copper-molybdenum extraction.
In north China’s Shanxi Province, he added, Armenia and China have cooperated in building a chloroprene rubber production plant–the construction of which is to finish this autumn.
Apart from economic cooperation, the two countries also work together on a wide range of other sectors from education and science to IT, healthcare and sport, Armenia’s chief diplomat said.
“Cultural exchanges between us are intensifying,” as well, Nalbandian said, adding that in in November Armenia will host Chinese cultural days, and “we are planning to organize Armenian cultural days in China.”
Despite the current level of cooperation that exists, Nalbandian said, the absence of direct flights between Armenia and China have “certain negative impacts” on economic relations between the two countries. He added that he was glad that Armenia’s national air carrier Armavia intends on establishing direct flights to China.