BEIJING The Chinese defense minister met with the head of Iran's navy, China's state news agency Xinhua reported Thursday. In a clear sign of the two countries strengthening their military ties, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan met Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari to discuss naval cooperation. The agency reported Chang praising previous cooperation between the nations’ armed forces and stressing their willingness to work together in the future. “Exchanges between the two navies have been fruitful and their warships have paid successful visits to each other,” it quoted Chang as saying. Last month Iranian state media reported that two Chinese warships had participated in a joint naval exercise in the Persian Gulf.