Lieberman presses Chinese FM on Iran

Meeting comes after Chinese man indicted in US for supplying Teheran with nuclear technology, missiles.

lieberman chinese FM yang jiechi (photo credit: )
lieberman chinese FM yang jiechi
(photo credit: )
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman discussed the proliferation of nuclear technology to Iran with his Chinese counterpart on Thursday, during a one-to-one, closed-door meeting that lasted 40 minutes at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. The meeting came two weeks after American authorities charged Chinese businessman Li Fang Wei with using his company to supply Iran with nuclear technology and missiles. Li has denied the charges, claiming his shipments were not intended for military use and telling the Financial Times earlier this month that he had limited his relationship with Iran after being censured by the Chinese authorities. Lieberman and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi emerged from their conference room at the end of the meeting on Thursday, and Lieberman told officials waiting outside that the issue of transferring nuclear technology to Iran had been discussed. The source said Yang "did not respond" when Lieberman mentioned the conversation topic, adding that he did not know what Yang's reaction had been during the meeting. A spokesman for Lieberman declined to comment on the meeting. China has long denied supplying Iran with nuclear technology, though John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, has said in the past that suspicions existed over the transfer of uranium enrichment technology from Beijing to Teheran, as well as the existence of a bilateral ballistic missile trade between the two countries. Last year, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said China had "betrayed Iran" by supplying the UN with information on Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear technology. The meeting between the two foreign ministers was held "in good spirits," the diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post, adding that the Chinese foreign minister had laughed heartily when Lieberman told him he was "very fond of Chinese food." Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levi said Lieberman "welcomed the visit," noting that it "was the first visit by a high-ranking Chinese government official to Israel in four years." Levi added that "the two sides emphasized their excellent relations, which have only improved since diplomatic relations were established. Alongside cultural cooperation and an increase in tourism, we can say that bilateral trade has surpassed $7 billion a year."