'Patience key to solve Iran nuke impasse'
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-14 05:54

China yesterday called for patience over the Iranian nuclear standoff, as Teheran studies an international proposal aimed at solving the issue.

The Foreign Ministry urged all the key players to be patient and restrained as Iran's leaders analyze the proposal, drawn up by Britain, France and Germany, and approved by the US, China and Russia.

"Now, there's a new opportunity for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy and negotiation," newly-appointed ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing.

"China appreciates Iran's offer to seriously study the proposal, and hopes Teheran will respond actively to create favourable conditions for the resumption of talks," she said.

The proposal includes both incentives aimed at persuading Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and possible sanctions if the nation chooses not to comply.

"Only when dialogue is resumed can differences be solved," Jiang said. "We hope the parties concerned will remain patient and exercise restraint, which will help resume the dialogue."

Iran has reiterated that it is ready for unconditional talks, but insists that it will not negotiate on its right to peaceful nuclear technology.

China will continue to play a "constructive role" in the debate, and work with other parties to help solve the standoff, said Jiang.

Military exports

The spokeswoman also rejected London-based human rights group Amnesty International's report accusing China of selling arms to an array of alleged human rights abusers.

"China takes a responsible attitude towards military exports," she said.

In a report released on Sunday Amnesty claimed China was selling arms to countries such as Sudan and Myanmar, in a bid to extend its trade and diplomatic reach.

"These accusations are groundless and do not square with the facts," said Jiang.

She said China has been taking a cautious and responsible attitude to military exports and adheres to three principles in arms trade.

Military exports "should help enhance the self-defence capability of importing countries, should not impair regional and global peace, security and stability, and should not be used to interfere with other countries' internal affairs," she added.

Statistics from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that between 2000 and 2004, the US exported US$25.9 billion worth of weaponry 48 per cent of the world's total arms trade. Weaponry exported by China in the same period was valued at only US$1.4 billion, a mere 5 per cent of that of the US.

Human rights

Referring to US lawmakers' latest criticisms of China "allegedly stepping up religious persecution," Jiang said "it was a groundless accusation that interfered in China's internal affairs."

The US House of Representatives on Monday approved a resolution condemning China for "rising persecution" of religious believers.

The resolution "constitutes a gross interference in China's internal affairs," Jiang said. "We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition."

"We advise the US lawmakers to care more about their own issues and do more to address the human rights violations in their own country," Jiang said. "They should stop interfering with other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of religious affairs and human rights."

She also said a Chinese delegation led by Sha Zukang, top Chinese diplomat to the UN office in Geneva, will attend the first meeting of the UN Human Rights Council to be held in Geneva from June 19 to 30. Vice-Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will address the meeting.

(China Daily 06/14/2006 page1)