Chinese leaders hold talks with Iranian envoy amid N-row

Last Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 20:45

Beijing: Chinese leaders on Thursday held a
series of talks with a top Iranian diplomat here apparently to
persuade Tehran to show flexibility on its plans to develop
enriched uranium to avoid UN sanctions.

There is intense speculation here that China, a member
of the UN Security Council has agreed to support limited
sanctions against Iran but Chinese Foreign Office spokesman
Qin Gang said Iran`s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili held
talks with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo and Foreign
Minister Yang Jiechi.
"China will continue to seek a diplomatic settlement
to the Iranian nuclear issue through constructive efforts," he
said declining to specify whether Beijing too would support
any sanctions against Tehran.

His remarks came as reports said six world powers -
China, Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany
- have discussed putting new sanctions on Iran over its
nuclear program. Barring China all others apparently agreed to
impose sanctions against Iran.

"All parties agreed to continue to maintain contact
through various channels," he said.

The United States and its western allies have long
accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under the
guise of a civilian programme, and are discussing a United
Nations resolution to impose sanctions.

Iran has denied the accusation and stressed its
nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

China maintains there is still room for diplomatic
efforts on the nuclear issue, and has resisted new sanctions.

"China expresses its serious concern about the Iranian
nuclear issue situation and is in close contact with relevant
parties and is striving for a proper settlement of the issue
through diplomatic means," said Qin.
Qin also said China maintains that the international
nuclear non-proliferation regime be safeguarded and in the
meantime regional peace and stability should be taken into
account.

The issue is turning out to be difficult one for
Beijing as US has mounted pressure on it on a host of issues
including the currency revaluation. US accused China of
undervaluing its currency and threatened to take punitive
measures.

Also China today announced that President Hu Jintao
would take part in the Nuclear Security Summit called by
President Barrack Obama being held from April 12-13, where the
Iranian issue was expected to come up.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 20:45

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