Relations between Iraq and China were established after the revolution of 1958 which overthrew the monarchy and established a republic. Relations between the two countries were formally established on August 25, 1958. During the 1960s relations between the two countries were strengthened as Iraq had purchased many Soviet and Chinese weapons during the Six Day War and the Yom Kipur War with Israel. But also during this time there was chaos because the Iraqi government had gone through several military coups and attempted coups. In 1971 Iraq supported China's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations and it voted in favour to admit Beijing and replace Taipei. During the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988 China was one of the main suppliers to all sides in the war. In fact, China had played both sides during the war and had sent arms to both Iran and Iraq.
During the Persian Gulf War of 1991 China had condemned Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and had strongly supported the military action by the Coalition. But after the Gulf War China was found by American officials to have violated the United Nations Resolutions on the Gulf War and that China was beginning to rearm Iraq
China had strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq War and along with France, Germany and Russia had strongly condemned the invasion and occupation and had called for a withdrawal of all forces from the country. All four countries united against the United States and the United Kingdom and had refused to contribute any troops to Iraq unless there was a United Nations mandate. Despite the opposition to the U.S. invasion and occupation of the country China emerged as one of the biggest winners of Iraq's oil contracts. Chinese and Russian companies had emerged as the biggest winners in the bid for Iraq's oil. Chinese companies were willing to operate on 20 year fee based contracts, which offered lower profit margins than Western companies desired.
In 2013 China bought nearly half of Iraqi oil production, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day.
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- Pepe Escobar (16 December 2009). "Iraq's oil auction hits the jackpot". Asia Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- Tim Arango and Clifford Krauss (2 June 2013). "China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom". New York Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014.