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Chinese President Hu to Attend Nuclear Security Summit in Washington

Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend a major nuclear security summit in Washington, later this month. Meanwhile, China has indicated it is willing to continue talks with all relevant parties on the Iran nuclear issues - even if those discussions include imposing more sanctions on Tehran.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing Thursday that President Hu Jintao will attend the nuclear security summit in mid-April in Washington.

Qin says the Chinese side is mostly concerned about the threat of nuclear terrorism and supports international efforts to strengthen cooperation to combat it.

He says China sees the summit as an "important" meeting that will bring together leaders or delegates from 40 countries and other international organizations.

Another nuclear issue that dominated Thursday's Foreign Ministry news conference involves Iran, which many in the international community suspect of developing nuclear weapons.

There was news Wednesday that the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany, agreed to start drawing up new sanctions against Iran because of its controversial nuclear program.

This is significant because it would indicate China has dropped its long-standing opposition to sanctions against Iran.

The Chinese spokesman Thursday would not say directly whether China supports international efforts to impose sanctions on Iran.

Qin confirmed that China had taken part in the conference call about the Iranian nuclear issue Wednesday, and that all parties - in his words - "agreed to maintain contact through various channels."

He repeated China's position that it would like to see a diplomatic resolution to the issue, but he also said China will continue to play a constructive role in what he termed the "proper resolution."

The Chinese spokesman says Beijing believes Tehran is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy - but only under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Qin called on Iran, which he referred to only as "relevant parties," to strengthen its communication and cooperation to further clarify and resolve some pending issues.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is in Beijing for meetings with Chinese leaders. The Chinese spokesman acknowledged the Iranian official is in town, but he offered no details of the talks.