The governor of Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk on Sunday called for Chinese investment and expertise in the reconstruction of towns and villages in the province that were destroyed in battles against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
"China has a strong and solid economy. We in Kirkuk need Chinese expertise and support in the light of official and legal frames," Rakan al-Jubouri told a joint press conference with the Chinese ambassador to Iraq.
Al-Jubouri said Chinese companies can cooperate with the Kirkuk's provincial Chamber of Commerce and the Investment Board.
"We in Kirkuk are facing a severe shortage of services, especially in the field of electricity and the municipality and we have some 130 destroyed towns and villages," al-Jubouri said, adding that his province has plans to help displaced people return to their homes.
For his part, Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Chen Weiqing confirmed his keenness to cooperate with the provincial authorities to develop the economy in the province.
"China and Iraq are friends. A few days ago I met Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. We expressed our support to his government program and our readiness to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure," Chen told reporters.
"We have a desire to cooperate in the field of transport, communications, electricity, industry and agriculture," he said.
"We are ready to receive a delegation from Kirkuk at our embassy in Baghdad to continue discussions to reach common understanding," Chen added.
Large parts of the oil-rich province were badly damaged in June 2014, after the IS militants seized towns and villages.
Late in 2017, the Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militant group across the country despite the presence of its remnants, who are still hiding in some rugged areas in central Iraq.