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As US calls for further Iran sanctions, China demands diplomacy

President Ahmadinejad (C) at Natanz uranium enrichment facility, 2006
China refuses any new sanctions on Tehran  Photo: AFP

James Steinberg, a senior US diplomat, arrived in Beijing on the highest level visit since a series of bilateral rows, to press China towards placing tougher sanctions on Iran.

Chinese officials though assert that diplomacy should be further utilized in persuading Tehran to bring its nuclear program into international compliance.

Moscow signaled on Monday that it would consider new sanctions against Tehran.  Speaking in Paris on Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he was open to the idea of sanctions against Iran as a last resort.

"Russia is ready, together with our other partners, to consider introducing sanctions" if there is no breakthrough in the negotiations, he told a news conference after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"These sanctions should be calibrated and smart. These sanctions should not target the civilian population," the Russian leader was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Iran rejected the claim by the IAEA that Tehran was uncooperative in the UN's investigations.  Repeatedly claiming that Iran's nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes only.

When questioned about Moscow's statement, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: "We call for a resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means.

"We believe there is still room for diplomatic efforts and the parties concerned should intensify those efforts."

The US has long sought the backing of China, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, in applying new and tougher sanctions on Tehran.  US officials hope that hopes the visit by Mr Steinberg and the National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs, Jeffrey Bader, will help ease Sino-US tensions that have arisen over a Taiwan arms deal, trade matters, internet censorship, and US policy towards Tibet.

These tensions aside, China will not likely support any tougher sanctions for two very evident reasons.  First, China is a strong advocate for state sovereignty and the freedom of countries to act internally,  free from international interference.  Secondly, and perhaps more importantly is the fact that China has very strong trade relations with Iran.

Sino-Iranian trading is very extensive and China relies on Iran as a major supplier of oil.  China has also invested heavily in Iran over the past decade and any further sanctions would impede Chinese business in Iran.

Thus, the US may work fervently to gain China's backing on the new purposed sanctions, yet gain no headway in the end.


  • Boondocks 5 years ago

    "Thus, the US may work fervently to gain China's backing on the new purposed sanctions, yet gain no headway in the end."

    Then screw 'em! They obviously have a severe conflict of interest, and no bargaining whatsoever is going to change the fact that they have billions invested in Iran. What could possibly convince them to jeopardize that by allowing sanctions against Iran?

    We need to send a message to both Iran and China, that while countries are sovereign, they still have to cooperate with and be part of an international community. Force sanctions on Iran with or without China's support, and if it is without China's support, start pressuring them even more on issue's important to the US and international communities.

  • stentor 5 years ago

    The Chinese know their billions of US bonds have few possible takers on the market except bottom feeders in a worst case scenario, thus they have publicly stated "we hate you guys". Besides, the Chinese don't want to pauperize their still biggest consumer anyway. We have leverage regardless of what all these chickenheaded fools scream about whatif bond selloffs.

  • Joe 5 years ago

    Obama should fire Clinton and replace Israeli Americans in executive branch with regular Americans without prejudices toward American policy in regard toward Israel before losing his job to Clinton, if so US will have peace and stability in domestic and foreign affair within a year, if not just follow Israel actions to see how their minions are imposing it over US policy which is agitation, friction, assassination and chaos.

  • BalancedView 5 years ago

    Yes, countries shall cooperate. However, what the heck was Obama thinking when he sold arms to Taiwan and met the slave-master Dalai Lama? Was that cooperation with China? You don't care about China's vital interests and now you want China to care about you?

  • BalancedView 5 years ago

    Wake up! You cannot force any sanction on Iran without China's support. Even China does not veto the sanction on the UN Security Council, they can simply continue their business with Iran to make the sanction useless. Use your head!

  • Daniel 5 years ago

    The solution to this ongoing Iran/China problem: War with China. It is the only way. Diplomacy is for hippie gay loving tree hugging liberals. Grow some balls America. Stop your crying and get back to work. Our country is falling apart because of all the crying and bitching.

  • Boondocks 5 years ago

    Joe: WTH are you trying to say? There isn't a single coherent though in that entire post, and what do Israeli's have to do with China's position on Iran???

    BalancedView: Taiwan has been recognized as a sovereign democratic state by Washington. Obama would have been remiss in NOT selling them arms to protect themselves. Besides, he's sending a message to the Chinese that they can't tell the U.S. what we can and can't do. And as for your comment about the "slave-master" Dalai Lhama, what are you talking about??? If you want to talk about slavery, the first place to point is China, you tool! The Dalai Lhama is one of the leading and most outspoken civil rights activists in the world!!

    Daniel: I could almost guarantee you that if it came to war with China, unless every other nation in the world joined us, we would probably lose, and at best it would end in a stalemate, which would put us right back where we are now...

    Tools, you have no idea what's going

  • Daniel 5 years ago

    Boodocks: My thought is that since the US has years and years of experience fighting wars of all types that China, a developing nation with a military loaded with outdated equipment, would have a seriously difficult time in a conventional war with the US. People always talk about the "size of China's military" being 2.2 million+ soldiers. All I can think is what would they do with the 2.2 million men? They would probably have a chance if we were throwing people at each other but that wouldn't be the case. I do not disagree with your point, I am just trying to look at the big picture. I do not think that a conflict with China would leave the US unharmed, but I'm sure we would come out on top. War and conflict is an important part of life and should be accepted.

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