Iraqi president to visit China to meet top leaders

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will visit China later this month for meetings with top officials, the Foreign Ministry announced Thursday.

The two sides were expected to discuss bilateral relations and "international and regional issues of common interest," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular news conference. They will sign cooperation agreements related to education and health.

Talabani will meet with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and top legislator Wu Bangguo during his visit, which begins next Wednesday, Qin said. He will leave China on June 26 after visiting Beijing, Xi'an and Nanjing.

China, which sat out the Iraq war, needs a steady supply of oil to run its fast-growing economy. Analysts have said that China could be the first to take advantage of an Iraqi law, expected to be approved next month, that would open its oil fields to international companies.