BEIJING (Reuters) - China wants deeper defense ties with Iran, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan told his Iranian counterpart on Monday, according to Chinese state media, as Beijing moves to cement already close ties with a major oil supplier.
Chang told Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan the development of bilateral relations has “remained positive and steady, featuring frequent high-level exchanges and deepened political mutual trust”, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Chang is “confident that the friendly relations between the two countries as well as the armed forces will be reinforced” due to “increased mutual visits and personnel training cooperation between the armed forces”, Xinhua added.
Dehqan “voiced the hope that the two countries will continue to play a positive role in safeguarding regional peace and stability”, the agency said.
It gave no other details.
China has exported arms to Iran, and last month expressed anger after Washington laid charges against a Chinese businessman accused of allegedly procuring missile parts for Iran.
China and Iran have close energy and trade ties, and Beijing has repeatedly resisted U.S.-led demands to impose tougher economic sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions.
However, differences have arisen between China and Iran in the development of Iran’s oil and gas resources.
Last month, Iran terminated China National Petroleum Corp’s (CNPC) contract to develop the Azadegan oilfield after the Chinese energy giant ignored repeated appeals to work on it.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez