Work on the Chinese Embassy’s new building and adjacent facilities in Yerevan began three years ago. Officials said at the time that it will be China’s second largest diplomatic mission in the former Soviet Union.
“You are the first and most honorable guest of our new embassy,” Chinese Ambassador Tian Erlong told Sarkissian before showing him around the 40,000-square-meter compound.
Sarkissian toured the compound ahead of China’s National Day that will be marked on October 1. He congratulated Tian and other Yerevan-based Chinese diplomats on the upcoming holiday.
“I think China can be proud of such presence,” the president told the envoy at an ensuing meeting. “We regard this [new embassy complex] as China’s bid to deepen Chinese-Armenian relations and elevate them to a higher level.”
“Despite their different size, Armenia and China have many similarities: they both are global nations in a certain sense,” he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping praised bilateral ties when he congratulated Sarkissian on the 29th anniversary of Armenia’s declaration of independence on Monday. He said Beijing and Yerevan support each other in the international arena on “issues which are vital for the interests of the two countries.”
“I attach great importance to the development of the Chinese-Armenia relations and I am ready to make, together with you, joint efforts to elevate our multifaceted cooperation to a new level,” Xi wrote in a congratulatory message.
Xi reaffirmed China’s desire to deepen political, economic and cultural ties with Armenia when he met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Beijing in May 2019. “Constructive and productive relations with China are very important for us,” Pashinian said, for his part.
In August 2018, Pashinian attended the inauguration of a new school in Yerevan built by the Chinese government. He said that having many Chinese speakers is an “economic necessity” for Armenia.
China is Armenia’s second largest trading partner after Russia. According to official Armenian statistics, Chinese-Armenian trade totaled $405 million in the first half of this year.
Sarkissian called on Wednesday for closer commercial ties between Armenian and Chinese high-tech companies. “I would be very happy to make my modest contribution to the development of Chinese-Armenian economic relations in the area of high technology,” he said.