BEIJING: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Friday on China to show a united front on Iran, as a deadline looms for Washington to slap sanctions on importers of the Islamic republic's oil.
On a visit to Beijing, Clinton said that the United States and China shared the goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and reiterated that the US wanted a peaceful outcome.
"The best way to achieve the diplomatic solution we all seek is to stay strong and united," Clinton told senior Chinese officials during annual talks, according to her prepared remarks.
"If we ease off the pressure or waver in our resolve, Iran will have less incentive to negotiate in good faith or to take the necessary steps to address the international community's concerns about its nuclear programme," she said.
Israel has led charges that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon and has not ruled out a military strike.
Iran insists that its sensitive uranium work is for peaceful uses.
Under a US law aimed at coaxing Iran into a solution, the United States will impose sanctions starting on June 28 on financial institutions from any nations that keep buying Iran's oil -- the country's key export.
The State Department has already given exemptions to European Union members and Japan, saying they were making major efforts to reduce purchases of Iranian oil.
China and India, a fellow power that is heavily dependent on oil, have both voiced opposition to the US law but have gradually been buying less crude from Iran as the deadline approaches for a US decision on sanctions.
The issue is expected to be high on the agenda when Clinton visits India starting on Sunday.