One week after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s visit to Beijing, the Armenian government formally approved on Thursday an impending agreement on visa-free travel between Armenia and China.
Pashinian said that the agreement is due to be signed during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s upcoming trip to Armenia.
“We hope that it will invigorate relations between our countries and Armenia’s citizens will be able to visit China without obstacles,” he told a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan.
Presenting the draft agreement to the cabinet members, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigor Hovannisian said it will allow Armenian and Chinese citizens to stay in each other’s country visa-free for up to 90 days. He said it also commits the two states to quickly deporting travellers “abusing” the new rules.
“The signing of the agreement is expected to lead to more active commercial, business and tourism contacts between the two countries and a more effective use of the potential existing in this area,” added Hovannisian.
Pashinian noted that the agreement was reached during his working trip to China which began on May 14.
The Armenian leader met with China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang and took part in an international conference held in Beijing. “Constructive and productive relations with China are very important for us,” Pashinian told Xi.
Xi reportedly reaffirmed his government’s desire to deepen political, economic and cultural ties with Armenia. According to an Armenian government statement, he said Chinese firms are ready to participate in major infrastructure projects in Armenia.
China is Armenia’s second largest trading partner. According to official Armenian statistics, Chinese-Armenian trade soared by over 29 percent in 2018, to $771 million.