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Top UK diplomat visits China, Iran on agenda

15 March 2010 [15:49] - TODAY.AZ
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is pictured after he pushed in the final acrylic pole, containing different kinds of seeds, to signal the end of construction for the exterior structure of the UK Expo pavilion in Shanghai.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is on his way to Beijing for talks focused on convincing China to agree to a new round of sanctions against Iran.

After a quick stop in Shanghai, Miliband on Monday headed to Beijing where he is scheduled to meet with his counterpart Yang Jiechi and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Before his departure, Miliband claimed the two countries see eye to eye on the Iranian nuclear program.

"Britain and China have not only agreed on the goals that Iran should respect the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but also respect that we need to keep a combination of engagement and pressure," Miliband told reporters at the Shanghai World Expo site.

This is while China has resisted Western pressure to agree with their demand to impose harsher sanctions on Iran.

On Friday, Britain's ambassador to Beijing warned that China could face isolation internationally, should it fail to give its consent to fresh sanctions against Iran.

"It's not in China's interests to find itself isolated from permanent members of the Security Council or the E3+3. It would damage China internationally," Sebastian Wood said.

The fourth set of financial sanctions, proposed by the United States, Britain, France and Germany targets restricting Iranian banks abroad and insurance for shipments to and from Iran.

However, the US-led efforts to build momentum for a fresh round of sanctions against Iran have so far hit a brick wall, as one of the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council has refused to back tougher measures against the Islamic Republic.

The Western powers claim Tehran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, a charge that the inspectors of UN's nuclear watchdog stationed in Iran have been unable to substantiate.

Iran, on the other hand, is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

No country has ever been subjected to more voluntary IAEA inspections than Iran. The Islamic Republic has repeatedly called for the elimination of all nuclear arms globally, a call ignored by nuclear powers and the West.

/Press TV/

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