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China Encourages Iran To Pursue Nuclear Negotiations

BEIJING (Reuters) -- China wants Iran and other powers to pursue contacts aimed at eventually defusing a long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear activities, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said.

The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain have said they will ask EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to invite Tehran to talks to find "a diplomatic solution" to Iran's nuclear program.

Iran said it would review the offer.

China, host of six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program, is a close energy and trade partner with Iran, and Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said her government welcomed the signs of renewed engagement.

"We are glad to see an improvement in relations between the United States and Iran," Jiang told an April 9 news conference. "We encourage Iran and other parties to have active contacts to seek an all-round, appropriate and long-term solution to the Iran nuclear issue."