New York Times: President Nicolas Sarkozy of France told President Hu Jintao of China that nations would have to impose new sanctions on Iran if it refuses to curb its nuclear program, official Chinese news organizations reported on Thursday. The New York Times
By EDWARD WONG
BEIJING — President Nicolas Sarkozy of France told President Hu Jintao of China that nations would have to impose new sanctions on Iran if it refuses to curb its nuclear program, official Chinese news organizations reported on Thursday.
Mr. Sarkozy’s efforts increased the pressure from a vigorous push by President Obama to get China and Russia to support a new round of sanctions.
“China hopes to use dialogue,” Mr. Sarkozy told Mr. Hu Wednesday during a visit to Beijing, according to China Daily, an official English-language newspaper. “France completely understands China, and we are willing to discuss this problem together at an appropriate time.”
Mr. Sarkozy added, “If dialogue does not work, then we can only use sanctions.”
France has joined with the United States and Britain in pushing for a new package of economic sanctions from the United Nations. Those countries accuse Iran of using its nuclear program to try to develop weapons. Iran has said it is interested in pursuing nuclear power, not arms.
Mr. Sarkozy’s trip to Beijing comes at a critical juncture in the campaign Mr. Obama is leading to win support for new sanctions. Earlier this month, Mr. Hu told Mr. Obama in Washington that China would take part in negotiations over a sanctions package, but made no specific commitments to support the kind of sanctions that the United States favors.
China, which imports nearly 12 percent of its oil from Iran, has long said that dialogue is the proper way to deal with that country in part because it is concerned that Iran would cut off oil shipments to China if Beijing were to support sanctions.
Iran’s nuclear ambitions were a priority in the talks between Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Hu, but Mr. Hu did not comment publicly on the issue, China Daily reported.
The two leaders also spoke about global monetary reform, but Mr. Sarkozy did not press Mr. Hu to revalue the Chinese currency, the renminbi, according to the English-language edition of Global Times, another official newspaper. The Obama administration has said China is keeping the renminbi far below its actual value to give Chinese manufacturers an advantage in the global market. Chinese leaders have given no signals that they intend to revalue the currency.
“France’s belief is that it is totally unproductive to make accusations against one another,” Mr. Sarkozy said, according to Global Times. “It is far more intelligent to prepare the necessary evolution of the monetary system in the 21st century.”
Mr. Sarkozy was making his first visit to China since relations between France and China soured in 2008 over the issue of Tibet. The Chinese government and many Chinese citizens became incensed at France when pro-Tibet protesters marred the Olympic torch relay as the torch passed through Paris. Mr. Sarkozy agreed later to meet with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader whom China labels a separatist and whom it blames for a widespread Tibetan uprising that took place in March 2008.
Mr. Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, stopped in the city of Xi’an on Wednesday to see the terra cotta warriors before arriving in Beijing. Mr. Sarkozy was the first head of state to arrive in China to attend the opening of the World Expo on Friday in Shanghai.