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Putin visit signals an eastward pivot in Russian foreign policy
Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized burgeoning military ties with China on Wednesday on the second day of a visit to his nation's eastern neighbour.
Putin told Vice President Xi Jinping that he and Chinese President Hu Jintao have vowed to expand military exchanges and he also recalled recent Russian-Chinese naval exercises in the Yellow Sea.
Military exchanges between Moscow and Beijing have accelerated under a regional security grouping that has hosted regular border protection and anti-terrorism drills.
China is a major customer for Russian fighters, submarines, missiles frigates, and other high-tech arms, but mistrust lingers from their Cold War rivalry. Ties have warmed steadily, however, during Putin's decade-long dominance of Russian political life
Iran's Ahmadinejad also in China
Separately, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad was in China attending the Shanghai Co-operation Organization meeting. He was expected to discuss his country's disputed nuclear program. Reuters reported.
Talks last month between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear ambitions ended without an agreement but the sides decided to reconvene in Moscow on June 18-19 in another effort to bridge the longstanding dispute.
Ahmadinejad's visit to China takes on particular significance, Reuters said, because China is a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council and has resisted U.S. demands for sanctions on Iran.
Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, exports most of its 2.2 million barrels of oil per day to Asia, home to its four main customers: China, Japan, India and South Korea.
Iran said on Wednesday a delay by world powers in agreeing to preparatory talks has thrown doubt on the next round of negotiations over the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, the state news agency IRNA reported.
"The other side's delay in meeting deputies and experts throws doubt and ambiguity on their readiness for successful talks," said Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili in a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, according to IRNA.
US Rejected 2005 Iranian Offer Ensuring No Nuclear Weapons
France and Germany were prepared in spring 2005 to negotiate on an Iranian proposal to convert all of its enriched uranium to fuel rods, making it impossible to use it for nuclear weapons, but Britain vetoed the deal at the insistence of the United States, according to a new account by a former top Iranian nuclear negotiator.
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who had led Iran's nuclear negotiating team in 2004 and 2005, makes it clear that the reason that offer was rejected was that the George W. Bush administration refused to countenance any Iranian enrichment capability, regardless of the circumtances.
The British and U.S. refusal to pursue the Iranian offer, which might have headed off the political diplomatic crisis over the Iranian nuclear programme since then, is confirmed by a former British diplomat who participated in the talks and former European ambassadors to Iran.
Mousavian writes that one of the European negotiators told him that "they were ready to compromise but that the United States was the obstacle."