China's Ag Minister met with Iranian and U.S. officials last week. The contrasting reports on the meetings perhaps reveal who China thinks its friends are.
On February 15, 2023, Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs met with Iranian Agriculture Minister Seyyed Javad Sadati Nejad in conjunction with Iranian President Raisi's meeting with Xi Jinping. The meeting focused on Minister Tang's proposals for China-Iran cooperation in agriculture to support the "consensus" reached by Presidents Xi and Raisi, according to an article posted on the English Ministry of Agriculture site (it also appeared on the Chinese version). Minister Tang proposed holding a policy dialogue, and suggested exchanges in dryland agriculture, new plant varieties, soil health, and trade cooperation.
The Agriculture Ministry publicists thought it was very important for the world to see the Chinese agriculture minister joking around with his Iranian counterpart:
On February 17, Minister Tang met the U.S. ambassador to China Nicholas Burns to discuss ideas for China-U.S. agricultural cooperation to follow up on the Bali meeting between Presidents Xi and Biden. No actual ideas or substance were mentioned in the 1-sentence report on the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture web site. The meeting was not reported on the English version of the site.
Here's what the publicists of China's Agriculture Ministry wanted to show you about the meeting with the U.S. Ambassador: