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No divide between US and China on Iran: Zoellick
Updated: 2006-01-26 15:55

A senior U.S. official gave a positive assessment of China's role in the standoff over Iran's nuclear program on Wednesday, saying Washington and Beijing had no major differences on the issue.

No divide between US and China on Iran: Zoellick
Technicians work at a uranium processing site in Isfahan, Iran in this March 30, 2005 file photo. The foreign ministers of the U.N. Security Council's five permanent members and Germany will meet in London on Monday to try to agree on how to tackle Iran's nuclear program, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. [Reuters]

The United States and its European allies want Iran referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions over suspicions it is trying to build a nuclear weapon, but Russia and China are urging caution.

But on a trip to China, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick said China's concerns were about "tactics and timing" and there was no difference in "core principles."

The International Atomic Energy Agency meets on February 2 to discuss whether to refer Iran to the Security Council, which can authorize sanctions. As a permanent member of the council, China has the power to veto any proposals.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said on Tuesday Beijing was studying a draft proposal from Britain, France and Germany to authorize the IAEA to take such action, but added China felt further diplomacy would be the better option.

During his three-day visit, Zoellick has urged China to become an active stakeholder in international security and said its size and economic power meant it could not avoid its role on the global stage.

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