Reuters: The White House said on Thursday China's agreement to take part in serious negotiations with Western powers over new sanctions on Iran was an "important step" and it expected the international community would be able to put pressure on Iran this spring. ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) – The White House said on Thursday China's agreement to take part in serious negotiations with Western powers over new sanctions on Iran was an "important step" and it expected the international community would be able to put pressure on Iran this spring.
"It's a very important step," White House spokesman Bill Burton said of China's participation, adding that the global community had become united about pressuring Iran over its nuclear program.
"We're going to continue that process and the president thinks that this spring we're going to be able to be in a place where there's an agreement of those nations to apply real pressure to Iran," he said.
Burton told reporters on Air Force One the United States was pleased that Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend a multi-nation summit on nuclear security in Washington this month.
"We have an important relationship with China, one in which there are many issues of mutual concern that we work on together," Burton said.
"But there also will be times where we disagree. I think this proves the point that despite those disagreements, we can work together on issues like nuclear proliferation," he said.
Burton repeated President Barack Obama's view that China moving to a more market-oriented exchange rate would help global rebalancing.
When asked about the Chinese currency, Burton read Obama's previous comments about the issue aloud.
He did not directly answer a question about whether Hu's participation in the nuclear summit would affect an upcoming decision that the United States is making over whether to call China a currency manipulator.
(Reporting by Alister Bull, writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Xavier Briand)