china flag 311.
(photo credit: Jason Lee / Reuters)
BEIJING - China and Iran have normal business ties which should not be targeted by any new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday, repeating that in any case sanctions were not the solution.
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Iran already faces a wide range of UN sanctions, as well as some imposed unilaterally by the United States and the European Union.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton urged China to utilize its ties with Iran to pressure the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, AFP reported Friday.
Speaking with Chinese Foreign MIinister Yang Jiechi in Hawaii before an Asia-Pacific conference, Clinton said "it was critical for China to communicate both publicly but also privately with Iran that they were on a course that was dangerous," according to an official that attended the meeting.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news
briefing,"Just like many countries, China and Iran have transparent and
normal commercial dealings."
"These dealings benefit the peoples of both countries. They do not harm
the interests of other countries nor the international community and
they do not violate Security Council resolutions. Even less do they
detract from China's stance on nuclear proliferation," he added.
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"I wish to reiterate that dialogue and cooperation are the most
effective channel for resolving the Iran nuclear issue. Pressure and
sanctions do not help to fundamentally resolve the problem."
He did not give a direct answer when asked whether new unilateral US
sanctions would harm ties with Beijing, saying only that dialogue and
cooperation were the pressing task.
Western governments would prefer further Security Council measures
against Tehran. But Russia and China, both permanent Security Council
members with veto power, are opposed and say new sanctions would not
China, which has kept close ties with Iran, has also backed past UN
Security Council resolutions criticizing Iran's position on nuclear
issues and authorizing limited sanctions.
Iran is China's third-largest crude oil supplier, shipping 20.3 million
tons in the first nine months of the year, up by almost a third on the
same period last year, according to Chinese data.
China has repeatedly resisted Western proposals for sanctions that could
seriously curtail its energy and economic ties with Iran.
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