Updated: 02/23/2014 17:47 | By Agence France-Presse

China's foreign minister on rare visit to Iraq

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Iraq on Sunday in the first such visit since before the 2003 US-led invasion, the foreign ministry said.

China's foreign minister on rare visit to Iraq

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) shakes hands with his Afghan counterpart Zarar Ahmad Usmani at the foreign ministry in Kabul on February 22, 2014 - by Wakil Kohsar

It is "the first visit to Baghdad by a high-ranking Chinese official since 2003," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Wang and senior officials will discuss "developing bilateral relations and regional and international issues", the statement said.

Oil is likely to be on the agenda.

Chinese companies PetroChina and CNPC have substantial investments in Iraqi oil production, which accounts for the lion's share of government revenue.

Baghdad is seeking to dramatically ramp up its oil sales to fund reconstruction of its battered infrastructure.

Iran, Iraq's neighbour to the east, may also be discussed, with China among the P5+1 group of world powers negotiating with Tehran on its controversial nuclear programme. 

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