China’s main ruling party newspaper criticized sanctions on Iran as German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Friday, Feb 3, with President Hu Jintao after urging Beijing to press Tehran to avoid developing nuclear weapons, AP reported.
Western efforts to pressure Iran with an oil embargo are “casting a shadow over the global economy,” said People’s Daily, the main Communist Party mouthpiece. It appealed to other governments to “keep calm and restrained and not escalate tensions.”
China has rejected sanctions. The world’s second-largest economy gets about 10 percent of its oil imports from Iran. Chinese analysts say an embargo could be damaging because Beijing would be hard-pressed to replace those supplies.
Merkel appealed Thursday to Beijing, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude, to help persuade Tehran to renounce the possible development of nuclear weapons. At an appearance with Premier Wen Jiabao, the German leader said sanctions were unavoidable.
Also Thursday, Wen said Beijing might contribute to European bailout funds but made no financial commitment.
On Friday, Hu told Merkel that Beijing wants to develop a “strategic partnership” and commercial relations with Germany, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. There was no mention of whether the leaders discussed Iran.
The European Union imposed an oil embargo on Iran last week and froze the assets of its central bank. In December, the United States said it would bar financial institutions from the U.S. market if they do business with Iran’s central bank.