James Bone – Times Online January 17, 2010
China is to deliver a carefully calibrated diplomatic snub at a meeting today to discuss UN sanctions aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
After postponing the six-power meeting for weeks, China said at the last minute that it would be represented by a junior diplomat — even though Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are all sending top officials.
Western diplomats say that China is now taking a harder line than Russia in opposing further UN sanctions on Tehran. One said that Beijing seemed more interested in energy security than preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. China imports about 15 per cent of its oil from Iran.
Beijing, in effect, ignored the year-end deadline for progress on the issue set by President Obama. The political directors of the six powers were forced to postpone their year
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