China said Tuesday sanctions were not the answer to the Iranian nuclear crisis, denting US President Barack Obama's hopes of sealing a deal to punish Tehran. Chinese President Hu Jintao met on Monday with the American leader to discuss the issue.
According to the AP, a top White House official said Obama and Hu agreed their delegations would work together at the United Nations on a push to impose sanctions against Iran.
However, China undercut hopes for a consensus when it said sanctions were not a solution. "China always believes that dialog and negotiation are the best way out for the issue. Pressure and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve it," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.
Jiang said China backs a "dual-track strategy" -- continued dialog with Tehran while considering the possibility of sanctions if that fails to halt sensitive nuclear work.
Iran also denied any suggestion that China was now backing the US stance. "We have a different understanding than yours of the comments made after the meeting of US and Chinese officials," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in Tehran when asked to react to US claims of a breakthrough.