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British Foreign Secretary In China For Talks Expected To Touch On Iran

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has arrived in China for talks with Chinese leaders expected to touch on the possibility of tougher sanctions against Iran over Tehran's nuclear program.

During a stop in Shanghai today, Miliband said Britain and China shared the goal of ensuring that Iran abides by United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to pressure Tehran to curb its nuclear activities.

"Britain and China haven't only agreed on the goal that Iran should respect the Non-Proliferation Treaty and not become a nuclear weapon state. We've also agreed on the means to achieve that, which is a combination of engagement and pressure. The engagement has been on the table with Iran for some time, and they have been refusing it," Miliband said.

Miliband was expected later to travel on to Beijing for talks with China's top leadership.

China -- one of the five veto-holding members of the UN Security Council and an ally of the Iranian leadership -- has so far refused to agree to tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic for failing to halt nuclear activity that could be diverted toward development of an atomic weapon.

Three of the five other permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, France, and the United States -- are all backing a possible fourth round of sanctions against Tehran, while the fifth member, Russia, has said it is ready to consider new punitive measures.

Iran denies any effort to make a nuclear weapon, saying its atomic program is for civilian energy purposes.

compiled from agency reports