Mon, Dec 25, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Sanctions won't solve Iran issue: PRC

UNANIMOUS As a member of the UN Security Council, China on Saturday voted to punish Tehran for its nuclear program, but did not think it was a long-term solution


China yesterday called on all sides to resume talks on Iran's nuclear program, adding that although it supported the UN resolution to punish Iran, Beijing did not think sanctions could solve the problem.

"We hope that the resolution is earnestly enforced, but we also think that sanctions are not the objective and cannot be a permanent solution to the problem," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao (劉建超) said.

The UN Security Council, of which China is a permanent member, voted unanimously on Saturday to impose sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology, an effort to stop enrichment work that could be used in bombs.

"The Chinese side calls on all sides to continue all-out diplomatic efforts to push for an early resumption of talks and seek a long-term, comprehensive solution," Liu said in a statement carried on the Foreign Ministry's Web site.

"The Chinese side has all along supported protecting the system of international non-proliferation, opposing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and hopes there is no new unrest in the Middle East," Liu said.

China "also upholds political and diplomatic efforts to peacefully solve the Iran nuclear question by talks," he added.

The resolution demands that Iran end all research on uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear power plants as well as for bombs, and halt all research and development on methods of producing or delivering atomic weapons.

The thrust of the sanctions is a ban on imports and exports of dangerous materials and technology relating to uranium enrichment, reprocessing and heavy-water reactors, as well as ballistic missile delivery systems.

The measure is less restrictive than the original draft, drawn up by Britain, France and Germany, because of Russian objections.

Iran is China's third largest oil supplier after Saudia Arabia and Angola, and Beijing has been wary of angering Tehran so as not to upset these supplies.

Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso urged Iran yesterday to suspend its nuclear activities and return to negotiations.

"It is Japan's strong wish that this issue will be resolved peacefully through negotiation," Aso said in a statement. "Japan strongly expects that Iran will abide by the requiremens of this resolution including the suspension on all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and return to the negotiation process."

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