Beijing - China has invited the Iranian President to participate in the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit next month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday.
Wang said President Hassan Rouhani is set to join his Russian, Kazakhstani and Kyrgyzstani counterparts at the summit, which will be held from June 9 to 10 in Qingdao and presided over by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Efe news reported.
The invitation to Rouhani at a crucial time after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Iran, the European Union and the P5+1 group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany), of which China is a member.
China's Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said that Beijing hoped the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) would continue to be implemented and said China was in contact with European countries involved in the agreement, as well as with Russia.
"If the JCPoA cannot be further implemented, the normal economic cooperation between the relevant countries will be affected... We hope China and Iran avoid major disruption to the cooperation projects between the two sides," Hanhui added.
The summit will be the first after the inclusion of India and Pakistan as members of the organisation in 2017, which made the SCO a bloc whose member countries account for almost half of the world's population.
The organisation, formed in 2001, aims to boost cooperation in economic and security matters between China, Pakistan, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, while Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Belarus have been granted observer status.