Ahmadinejad to visit China amid U.S. efforts to tighten Iran sanctions
On Line: 23 May 2012 15:15
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to visit China in June to attend a security summit and discuss the country’s nuclear program with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping announced on Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad will be attending a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which will be hosted by Beijing in June, Cheng told reporters at a briefing, Reuters reported.
The SCO is a regional security forum that groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan and which Iran is attending as an observer.
“Certainly, during his meeting with President Hu, the Iran nuclear issue will be an important talking point,” Cheng said.
Ahmadinejad’s visit to China takes on particular significance as China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and has resisted U.S. demands for sanctions on Iran.
Iran, OPEC’s second-largest producer, exports most of its 2.2 million barrels of oil per day to Asia, home to its four main customers: China, Japan, India, and South Korea.
All four nations have cut back on their purchases, dissuaded by a previous package of U.S. financial sanctions due to take effect at the end of June as well as an EU oil embargo and a ban on shipping insurance, which take effect on July 1.
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved on Monday a package of new economic sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.
China has repeatedly urged a negotiated solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
Asked about new U.S. and European Union sanctions targeting Iran’s oil exports, Cheng repeated China’s opposition to what it views as unilateral moves made outside the framework of the United Nations.
“We strictly follow the relevant UN resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue. But at the same time, China opposes using bilateral sanctions to force other countries or to harm other countries from normal trading with Iran,” he said.
According to Reuters, the People’s Daily warned in a commentary on Wednesday that increased U.S. pressure on Iran risked worsening the situation.http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/98168-ahmadinejad-to-visit-china-amid-us-efforts-to-tighten-iran-sanctions