BEIJING, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Beijing is committed to enforcing United Nations sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, responding to a U.S. media report that Chinese firms were bypassing the sanctions.
The Washington Post, citing an unnamed senior U.S. official, reported on Monday that the Obama administration had asked Beijing to ensure Chinese companies were not helping Iran improve missile technology or develop nuclear weapons.
China has backed U.N. Security Council resolutions pressing Iran to abandon disputed nuclear activities, which Western governments say are aimed at giving Iran the means to make weapons. Iran says the programme is purely for peaceful purposes.
“The Chinese side has always advocated that every country should implement the relevant U.N. resolutions about the Iran nuclear issue comprehensively, accurately and seriously,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular news briefing.
“We think it is not only good to maintain the integrity of the non-proliferation regime, but also peace and stability in the Middle East,” Ma added.
“China has fully fulfilled its international responsibilities and actively participated in diplomatic efforts in this regard. We have expressed our stance to the U.S side,” he added.
The U.S. official told the Washington Post that the government does not think Beijing is signing off on Chinese companies breaking sanctions with Iran, but added China has not given enough resources to tackling the problem.
Western governments have pressed China to loosen its energy and economic ties with Iran, which they see as shielding Iran from international pressure.
China has pushed back at U.S. pressure on its business and oil trade with Iran in comments published in August, saying Chinese trade dealings with Iran should not be criticised. [ID:nTOE67402W]
Iran is a major supplier of crude oil to China, the world’s second-biggest consumer of oil after the United States. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Huang Yan; Editing by David Fox; email@example.com; +86 10 6627 1201) (If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)