YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — China officially launched the construction of a new and much bigger building for its embassy in Armenia on Wednesday, August 9, in what a senior Chinese diplomat described as another sign of deepening relations between the two nations.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Yerevan’s Mayor Taron Markarian and China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Li Huilai broke ground on the site of the 40,000-square-meter embassy compound that should be completed by the end of 2019. Officials said that it will be the second largest Chinese diplomatic mission in the former Soviet Union.
“This is a great and joyful event,” the Chinese ambassador in Yerevan, Tian Erlong, told reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The Chinese Embassy in Armenia will have a new building in Armenia.”
“China will be better represented in this country. This is logical because the scale and nature of our cooperation are rapidly developing, and this obviously requires more efforts, more human resources and, therefore, a larger building,” he said.
Meeting with Nalbandian earlier in the day, Li reportedly said Beijing would like to “further deepen the dynamically deepening partnership with Armenia.” “The unprecedentedly high-level relationship and friendship between China and Armenia are based on sincerity and mutual respect,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry quoted him as saying.
According to a ministry statement, Nalbandian told Li that close relations with China are one of Yerevan’s foreign policy priorities.