Too early to discuss Iran sanctions, China says

22nd February 2006, Comments 0 comments

22 February 2006, BEIJING - China believes it is still too early to discuss possible sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday after meeting Chinese leaders.

22 February 2006

BEIJING - China believes it is still too early to discuss possible sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday after meeting Chinese leaders.

After his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Steinmeier said that Li recommended that all parties should use the run up to next month's meeting of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) to discuss Iran.

Li said all parties should show "patience, restraint and flexibility", the German minister said.

China, one of the five veto-holding permanent members of the UN Security Council, has urged Iran to comply with international calls to halt its nuclear programme and has supported a proposal for Russia to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants in Iran.

Li also reiterated China's desire for Iran to resume talks on its nuclear programme with the EU trio of Germany, Britain and France, Steinmeier said.

The two sides agreed that new German Chancellor Angela Merkel would visit China on May 22 to 23.

The German side proposed a dialogue about China's need to secure energy resources, after some German politicians expresses concerns about China's cooperation with Nigeria, Sudan, Iran and other countries.

Chinese state media said last week that China and Iran were close to finalizing a 100-billion-dollar agreement to develop Iran's Yadavaran oil and gas field.

An agreement could be signed as early as next month for China to buy 10 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years beginning in 2009, the finance magazine Caijing reported.

Steinmeier, on the first visit to China by a member of Germany's new government, pressed China on civil liberties and "specific cases" of violations of intellectual property rights (IPR).

"For further development of economic relations we need a reliable [IPR] framework," he said, adding that this was in "both countries' interests."

Steinmeier said that a bilateral dialogue on judicial reform was the "right forum" for discussing civil liberties in China.

He said he reiterated Germany's "one China" policy of not giving diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, but said he told the Chinese leaders that Germany expects China to solve any dispute with Taiwan "in an absolutely peaceful way".

Wen told Steinmeier that relations with Germany were a "pillar of China's foreign policy" and said he looked forward to Merkel's visit.

Steinmeier was also scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao Thursday.

The German foreign minister arrived in China after talks in South Korea and Japan.

DPA

Subject: German news

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