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Chinese diplomats arrive in Baghdad

PLA Daily 2004-02-17

BAGHDAD, Feb. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- A team of Chinese diplomats arrived in Baghdad Monday afternoon and will soon start preparations for the reopening of the Chinese Embassy in the Iraqi capital.

The Chinese team, comprising seven officials from the Foreign Ministry and the Commerce Ministry and six security guards, will stay in a hotel for the time being while looking for a temporary facility to work in, Sun Bigan, chief of the Chinese team charged with the task of reopening the Chinese Embassy, told Xinhua.

Looting sprees in Baghdad that followed the US-led war on Iraq caused serious damage to the buildings and facilities inside the embassy compound.

The Chinese diplomats will contact officials of the Iraqi Governing Council, the Coalition Provisional Authority and UN offices in Iraq and will also try to help Chinese companies participate in Iraq's post-war reconstruction, Sun said.

Sun, a former ambassador to Iraq, said team members are all braced for the difficulties in living and working conditions and have pledged to spare no effort to fulfill their mission.

This is the first time Chinese diplomats have formally returned to Iraq since the US-led coalition launched the war against Iraq in March 2003. The last Chinese diplomats left Baghdad just three days before the war broke out and the Chinese embassy staff had been staying in Amman, capital of Jordan.

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