Reuters: China supports the United States in resolving the dispute on Iran’s nuclear programmes through diplomatic means, Chinese President Hu Jintao told his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush. BEIJING (Reuters) – China supports the United States in resolving the dispute on Iran’s nuclear programmes through diplomatic means, Chinese President Hu Jintao told his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush.
But it was still not clear whether China, which holds veto power in the U.N. Security Council, would support a U.S. push for sanctions if an offer to Iran for talks fails.
“China is ready to keep contact and coordination with the United States and play a constructive role in resuming the negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue at an early date,” Hu told Bush in comments carried by the official Xinhua news agency.
China’s Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, and “exchanged views on the latest developments in the Iran nuclear issue”, according to a brief statement on the Foreign Ministry’s Web site.
“China supports all efforts to resolve the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations,” the statement quoted Li as saying.
Bush said on Thursday that if Iran sticks to its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment — which the West fears is a cover for making nuclear weapons — the issue will go to the Security Council.
But there is also a renewed push to resolve the dispute diplomatically, with agreement among world powers on Thursday on a package of incentives for Iran if it halts the fuel enrichment, which Tehran maintains is for producing electricity.
China and Russia may join the Europeans in presenting the package to Iran, U.S. officials said, but if Iran spurns the gesture the powers may move towards sanctions, possibly involving visa bans or a freeze on assets of senior Iranian officials.
During their phone conversation, Bush also called Hu’s visit to Washington in April a success. Hu said the visit had resulted in “important consensus on promoting bilateral constructive and cooperative relations”.