| GEO World|
| China prefers talks on Iran nuke issue|
| Updated at: 0643 PST, Sunday, March 28, 2010|
BEIJING: China said Thursday it still preferred diplomacy to sanctions in resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, a day after Britain's U.N. ambassador said China had agreed for the first time to discuss new measures against Tehran.
China, which relies on Iran for much of its energy, traditionally opposes sanctions, although it went along with three earlier U.N. sanctions resolutions.
Dialogue remained "the best option, which agrees with the interests of all parties, and is also conducive to regional peace and stability," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference.
"The diplomatic approach is the most efficient," he said, without mentioning sanctions directly.