US, China acknowledge `good progress` in Iran talks

The US has been trying to persuade China for months to accept toughened sanctions on Iran.

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a Chinese official acknowledged "good progress" had been made when they talked about efforts to impose new sanctions on Iran, a US official said on Wednesday.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Hillary and China`s state councillor Dai Bingguo spoke for more than an hour by telephone late Tuesday, discussing both Iran and North Korea, whose nuclear programmes worry Washington.

"They talked about the status of discussions on Iran sanctions. They acknowledged that good progress has been made," Crowley told reporters.

They discussed "a couple of technical issues in the drafting... of the draft (UN sanctions) resolution and pledged that both sides would continue to work hard within the P5-plus-1 to resolve remaining questions," Crowley said.

He was referring to the permanent five members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain -- plus Germany, or the group that is spearheading diplomatic efforts to curb Iran`s nuclear ambitions.

He added that diplomats from the P5-plus-1 met earlier Tuesday in New York, the site of the UN headquarters.

On April 22, US Vice President Joe Biden said that China will sign on to new United Nations sanctions on Iran despite Beijing`s long insistence in favouring a diplomatic solution over punitive measures.

Washington has been trying to persuade China for months to accept toughened sanctions. Beijing has agreed to join talks at the UN on a toughened regime, but has yet to make its position clear.


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