China and Middle East Relations

Tini Tran for Associated Press writes about Premier Wen Jiabao’s statement affirming China-, which effectively dashed sanction hopes:

Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday that China intends to strengthen its cooperation with Iran, an indication Beijing would oppose growing calls in the West for additional sanctions against the Islamic regime for its nuclear program.

Earlier this month, Tehran revealed that it was operating a previously undisclosed uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, deepening suspicions in Europe and the U.S. that Tehran seeks atomic weapons.

[…] Wen’s remarks Thursday appeared to suggest that Beijing is also unlikely to accept any new U.N. sanctions resolution. China and Russia are both veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council and have long defended Tehran by watering down resolutions.

Wen made his remarks during a meeting with Iran’s visiting First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said. Rahimi was in Beijing to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security grouping that includes China, Russia and four central Asian nations.

Wen also recently met with Afghan Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili. From Xinhua:

China will continue to support ’s reconstruction, and make efforts to expand bilateral cooperation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday.

Meeting with Afghan Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili, who attended Wednesday’s eighth prime ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states as guest of host country China, Wen said China would continue to encourage qualified and reputable companies to invest in Afghanistan, and to strengthen bilateral practical cooperation in fields such as trade, economy and agriculture.

Wen said the mutually beneficial cooperation would not only serve the fundamental interests of the two peoples, but also be conducive to the regional peace and stability.

[…] Wen also called on the international community to pay more attention to the Afghan people’s living standards, and to support Afghanistan’s social and economic development.

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