BEIJING, January 10 (Itar-Tass) — China objects to unilateral economic sanctions on Iran, the China Daily quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry department director Chen Xiaodong on Tuesday.
“We prefer negotiation to military force in resolving conflicts between countries and oppose imposing unilateral economic or oil sanctions on Iran. We support the nuclear non-proliferation system, oppose Iran developing nuclear weapons and back the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East region, but we respect the right of Iran to use nuclear power peacefully,” Chen said.
“China welcomes Iran’s move to restart nuclear negotiations and urges relevant parties to stay calm to ensure regional peace and stability,” he said.
Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in response to the EU readiness to ban Iranian crude imports. The embargo may be approved at a foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels on January 23.
It has been decided to hold the ministerial meeting on January 23 instead of January 30, and 27 member states have preliminary coordinated the ban on crude imports from Iran, a diplomat said on Tuesday.
The EU imports up to 40% of Iranian crude. The crude is delivered by sea mostly to Italy, Spain and Greece.
Amid the growing tensions between Iran and the West, China has repeatedly called for resolving the problem with diplomatic methods in the interests of regional peace and stability. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Chinese State Council Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on January 14-19. Experts view this trip as an attempt of China to secure crude imports in the case of the embargo on Iranian crude.