China and Iran

Well, this week China wins no prizes for self-deprecation. According to the UK’s  Guardian newspaper. The Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi admitted that: ” Iran had not closed the door on negotiations over the export of its uranium, and called for patience and “a more flexible, pragmatic and proactive policy” towards talks with Tehran”. He later when on to say the following: “it was time for China’s voice to be listened to with more respect on the world stage. We have one fifth of mankind. At least we deserve a chance to express our views on how things should be run in the world.We are offering views but we have the modesty to listen to others. That has always been the tradition of China, but I think, we also deserve a hearing of one kind or another. One country, two countries three or four countries can definitely not decide the future of the world.”

Yang rejected western criticism on internet freedoms and China’s role at the Copenhagen global warming summit in December. He also criticised the US for its decision a week ago to sell more than $6bn in arms to Taiwan, which he said represented a violation of earlier bilateral agreements and “the international code of conduct”.

“The Chinese government and people feel indignant about this,” Yang said. “We approached the US side very seriously on many occasions. Yet the US went ahead and forced the Chinese government and people to react. We think it is our sovereign right to do what is necessary.”

The Chinese government has been obstinate to a point which really puts into question what success, if at all, the diplomatic route will have in persuading the Iranian government to open up to inspectors. The EU has been particularly bland in its pronouncements. Baroness Ashton spoke at a security conference in Germany recently stating: “that Iran must respond to the head of the IAEA over its nuclear programme. “There is a need to restore confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s programme,” she said, according to Reuters.”This must be done by dialogue. But dialogue takes two, and I’m ready to engage in meaningful and productive talks that deal directly with the issues that trouble us.”

The EU will be drawn into some intense debates next week as it decides on how to move forward on this issue. Lets hope it can make some headway.

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