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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 05:36 GMT
Olmert 'to discuss Iran' in China
By Daniel Griffiths
BBC News, Beijing

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert's parents lived in the Chinese city of Harbin
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is likely to discuss Iran's nuclear programme during talks with his counterpart Wen Jiabao.

He will probably ask China to support tougher measures against Iran, if it ignores a UN resolution asking to halt work on its nuclear programme.

China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, but so far has said it wants to continue talks with Tehran rather than take stronger measures.

Mr Olmert is in Beijing on a three-day visit focusing on trade and diplomacy.

He has a clear message for China's leaders: that a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to Israel, and also to stability in a region that Beijing relies on for oil.

Personal resonance

Aside from Iran, trade relations are also likely to be high on the agenda.

Business between China and Israel is booming - last year it was worth more than $700m, up by a third on the previous 12 months.

China also has a special personal significance for Mr Olmert. His parents took refuge in the country in the early 1900s, after fleeing persecution in Russia. In the past Mr Olmert has talked of having a spiritual tie with China.

Two years ago he fulfilled a long-held ambition - to visit his grandfather's grave in the north-eastern city of Harbin.




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