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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 23:49 GMT
Israeli PM buoyed by China visit
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert (left) with China's President Hu Jintao
Both leaders spoke of a deepening bond between their countries
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has held talks on Iran's nuclear programme with China's president at the end of a three-day visit to Beijing.

He described his meeting with Hu Jintao as "satisfactory beyond expectation".

He urged Mr Hu to stand firm on Iran, which the US and EU say aims to develop nuclear bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

China backed modest UN sanctions against Iran last month, but has yet to say in public whether it will support stronger measures against Tehran.

Both leaders described Mr Olmert's visit to China as an important step in developing a deeper relationship between the two countries.

On Wednesday Mr Olmert met Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who reportedly offered his assurance that Beijing would not permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

UN resolution

Israeli officials said Mr Olmert made it clear to Mr Hu that Israel "will do anything in its power" to stop Tehran's programme.

Israel is pushing for tougher measures against Iran if it continues to ignore a UN resolution calling on it to halt work on its nuclear programme.

That would include pushing for economic sanctions when the time is right, officials said.

China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has so far indicated it would prefer to continue talks with Tehran.

Neither leader spoke directly about their discussions on Iran, but Mr Olmert touched on the issue as he left Beijing.

"The fact that the Chinese are saying that they do not want an Iran with nuclear bombs has great significance," AFP news agency reported him as saying.

Economic ties

Both leaders stressed the importance of the developing trade relationship between China and Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Mr Olmert's parents lived in the Chinese city of Harbin
Mr Hu said Mr Olmert's visit would help enhance links between their countries in the 21st Century.

Mr Olmert spoke of a "bond between our two peoples" and China's importance in Israel's approach to international affairs.

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.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes from Ehud Olmert's visit to China



SEE ALSO
China 'reassures' Olmert on Iran
10 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Olmert 'to discuss Iran' in China
10 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
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Country profile: China
14 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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