Sept 14 2009

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Armenia is very interested in the
comprehensive development of its friendly relationship with China in
all possible fields, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan said
here Monday in an interview with Xinhua.

"During the negotiations in Beijing, I had a chance to discuss ways
to further strengthen and deepen cooperation in bilateral format and
multilateral frameworks," said Nalbandyan, who was in China for a
five-day official visit.

"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.

"We are proud of our enduring and time-tested friendship," Nalbandyan

He said Armenia and China maintained a high-level political dialogue
at the level of highest 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 implemented many joint economic projects, Nalbandyan
said, noting Chinese companies participated in the modernization and
reconstruction of Armenian energy sector, such as mining, particularly
copper-molybdenum extraction.

In north China's Shanxi Province, Armenia and China jointly built
a chloroprene rubber producing plant and the construction would be
completed this autumn, he noted.

The absence of direct flights between Armenia and China has had a
certain negative impact on economic relations. Nalbandyan said he
was glad that Armenia's national air carrier Armavia intended to
establish a direct air connection with China.

Apart from economic cooperation, the two countries cooperated on a
wide range of sectors from education and science to IT, healthcare
and sport.

"Cultural exchanges between us are intensifying, in November Armenia
will host Chinese cultural days, and we are planning to organize
Armenian cultural days in China," he said.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of
China, Nalbandyan conveyed the congratulatory message of the Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan to the Chinese people.

During his visit, Nalbandyan met with Chinese Vice President XiJinping
and had "substantial" and "very productive" discussions with his
Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.