Reuters: Iran and oil-famished China agreed on favouring a diplomatic solution to international confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear plans at a meeting on Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry said. BEIJING (Reuters) – Iran and oil-famished China agreed on favouring a diplomatic solution to international confrontation over Tehran’s nuclear plans at a meeting on Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a brief statement on its Web site (www.fmprc.gov.cn).
“Both sides exchanged views on developments in the Iranian nuclear issue, and stressed that it should be appropriately resolved through diplomatic negotiations,” the statement said.
The U.N. Security Council has told Iran to suspend atomic fuel work by Aug. 31 or face possible sanctions. The West suspects Iran is seeking the ability to make nuclear weapons, but Tehran says its only aim is to generate electricity.
The United States has threatened swift action on sanctions after Aug. 31 if Iran does not heed the U.N. demand. But Russia and China, both major trading partners with Iran, have been unwilling to impose sanctions and could frustrate such a move in the Security Council.
In the first seven months of 2006, Chinese trade with Iran reached $7.9 billion, a jump of 43.9 percent on the same period last year, driven by rising Iranian oil exports, according to Chinese Customs statistics.
China’s imports of Iranian crude reached 9.7 million tonnes in the first seven months, a rise of 10.4 percent in volume compared to the same time last year.
With rocketing oil prices, the value of those Iranian crude imports leapt 45.7 percent to $4.4 billion.
A spokesman for the Iranian embassy in Beijing confirmed Araghchi had visited for two days of talks with Chinese diplomats and said there would be no news briefing.