Iran's Ahmadinejad to visit China to discuss nuclear issue

May 23, 2012 07:00

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will head to China in June for a regional security meeting, where he will discuss his country's nuclear program with Chinese President Hu Jintao, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday.

Ahmadinejad will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting hosted by Beijing in June, China's Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told reporters at a briefing. The SCO is a regional security forum that groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and which Iran is attending as an observer.

The summit will likely be overshadowed by the presence of Ahmadinejad, whose country is at the center of a standoff with the West over its nuclear program.

"Certainly, during his meeting with President Hu, the Iran nuclear issue will be an important talking point," Cheng said.

Ahmadinejad's visit to China takes on particular significance as China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council and has resisted US demands for sanctions on Iran. China is a major buyer of Iranian crude oil.

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