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Iran summons Chinese envoy for statement on disputed islands

Tunb Al-Kubra, Tunb Al-Sughra, and Abu Musa [Wikipedia]
Tunb Al-Kubra, Tunb Al-Sughra, and Abu Musa [Wikipedia]

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador to Tehran late Saturday to protest a statement related to three disputed islands in the Persian Gulf, reports Anadolu Agency.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Chang Hua was summoned to express "strong dissatisfaction" with the joint statement of China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

In the detailed statement published Friday during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Saudi Arabia, China and the GCC countries adopted a joint action plan aimed at bolstering strategic cooperation, including affirming their support for regional issues, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) demand for the resolution of the long-standing dispute about the islands in the Persian Gulf region.

It said the dispute concerning the Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa islands must be resolved through negotiations between Iran and the UAE under the rules of international law.

Iran's Foreign Ministry, however, dismissed the China-GCC statement regarding the islands and called them an "integral part" of the country's territory, which "have never and will never be subject to negotiations with any country."

READ: Gulf States looking East to reinforce economic ties with China as Xi visits Saudi

China's ambassador, the statement added, said Xi's visit to Saudi Arabia was meant to "help peace and stability" in the region.

Iran and China have emerged as close regional allies in recent years, especially after entering into a long-term comprehensive partnership amid tensions with the US.

Earlier Saturday, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian took to Twitter to assert that the strategic islands were "inseparable parts" of Iran and that Tehran will not allow anyone to violate its territorial integrity.

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