Tighter United Nations sanctions against Iran cannot fundamentally resolve tensions over the country's nuclear program, China's Foreign Ministry said Friday.
While not flatly ruling out the possibility of new measures, ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China continues to maintain that frank exchanges rather than coercion is the best way to convince Iran to cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors.
"Dialogue and cooperation is the most effective way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Sanctions and pressure cannot fundamentally solve the issue," Hong told reporters at a daily news briefing.
China, which holds veto power in the U.N. Security Council over any sanctions against Tehran, wants to work with other nations to help bring about a resolution, Hong said.
Beijing reluctantly agreed to four previous rounds of sanctions on Iran but has yet to say whether it will back new measures following the release this week of a U.N. atomic agency report that documented Tehran's escalating nuclear ambitions.
China often follows Russia's lead on such matters. Russia already has firmly rejected any new sanctions and warned against any military action against Iran.
Hong also defended China's extensive economic dealings with Iran against criticism that such interactions prop up the Iranian regime and allow it to continue its nuclear program.
Such business links are normal and transparent and don't harm any other countries or violate existing sanctions, he said.