04:55 GMT +3 hours28 June 2016
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands at the conclusion of their joint press conference at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016

21st-Century Maritime Silk Road: China Opens New Shipping Route to Iran

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China has launched a new maritime shipping route to Iran two days after the first freight train departed China for the Islamic Republic, media outlets reported Monday, citing sources.

BEIJING  (Sputnik) – Sources in the Guangxi Beibu Gulf International Port Group told the Xinhua news service that an Iranian container ship arrived at Qinzhou Port in the southern autonomous region of Guangxi on Wednesday.

The ship named "Peranin" reportedly delivered 978 containers from "several countries along the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road."

Peranin's arrival marks the opening of the first shipping route linking the Middle East and the Beibu Gulf (Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnamese), according to the outlet.

On Thursday, China’s first freight train set off on a two-week maiden voyage to Iran from the southeastern trade hub of Yiwu in the central Zhejiang province.

Iran reemerged after a period of international isolation in mid-January, after its nuclear program was verified to be in compliance with the landmark agreement reached last summer. Tehran has since signed major deals with French, Italian, German and other companies.

On January 23, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed 17 cooperation agreements to strengthen bilateral ties. One of the agreements reportedly covered developing and constructing China's ambitious New Silk Road project as the two countries set a goal of increasing bilateral trade to $600 billion in the next 10 years.

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Silk Road, Iran, China
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