BEIJING (Reuters) - This week’s framework nuclear deal with Iran was also good for boosting relations between China and the United States, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a call with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The agreement can be attributed to all sides seizing a historic opportunity through concerted efforts, Wang told Kerry, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement released late on Friday.
“China and the United States, both taking on major responsibilities in safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation system, maintained good contact with each other during the negotiations, while instilling positive energy into bilateral relations,” the statement cited Wang as saying.
“In a bid to finalize a comprehensive deal as scheduled, China will maintain close coordination with all parties concerned, including the United States, and continue to play a constructive role during the process,” Wang added.
While China and the United States are at loggerheads over everything from cybersecurity to the value of China’s yuan currency, the world’s two largest economies also cooperate closely on certain international issues, including the Iranian and North Korean nuclear disputes.
The Chinese statement cited Kerry as saying that the United States appreciates China’s important and constructive role in the latest Iran nuclear talks.
The tentative agreement, struck on Thursday after eight days of talks between Iran and six world powers in Lausanne, Switzerland, clears the way for a settlement to allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.
It marks the most significant step toward rapprochement between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 Iranian revolution, and could potentially end decades of international isolation, with far-reaching political consequences in the Middle East.
China and Iran have close diplomatic, economic, trade and energy ties.
China’s crude oil imports from Iran jumped by nearly 30 percent last year to their highest average level since 2011, as Iran’s largest oil client boosted shipments after an interim deal eased sanctions on Tehran.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard