(Edited from China Daily) The Israeli embassy in Beijing Monday confirmed with China Daily that Israel would send a high-level delegation to China, in a move that Israeli media said is an attempt to persuade China to support sanctions against Iran. However, Chinese experts say the visit will not change China’s current stance on the issue. Media in Israel reported yesterday that a high-ranking Israeli delegation will travel to Beijing at the end of the month for discussions with senior Chinese officials.

(Edited from China Daily) The Israeli embassy in Beijing Monday confirmed with China Daily that Israel would send a high-level delegation to China, in a move that Israeli media said is an attempt to persuade China to support sanctions against Iran.

 

However, Chinese experts say the visit will not change China’s current stance on the issue. Media in Israel reported yesterday that a high-ranking Israeli delegation will travel to Beijing at the end of the month for discussions with senior Chinese officials.

 

Israel National News (INN) reported that Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer will lead the delegation: “Fischer is a respected figure in China. He has dealt with the country in the past when he served on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.” Accompanying him will be Israeli Minister for Strategic Threats Moshe Ya’alon, who will be “entrusted with the military-intelligence aspects of the visit” according to INN.

 

The announcement came yesterday with Netanyahu’s call for an immediate embargo on Iran’s energy sector, saying the UN Security Council should be sidestepped if it cannot agree on the move.

 

Netanyahu said that if the world “is serious about stopping Iran, then what it needs to do is not watered-down sanctions, moderate sanctions … but effective, biting sanctions that curtail the import and export of oil into Iran.

 

“This is what is required now. It may not do the job, but nothing else will, and at least we will have known that it was tried. And if this cannot pass in the Security Council, then it should be done outside the Security Council, but immediately.”

 

Among the five members of the UN Security Council that have the power of veto, China and Russia have opposed sanctions against Iran. However, Russia has recently begun to criticize Teheran.

 

Despite intense pressure from Western countries to do likewise, China has stuck to its position of dialogue with Teheran. Earlier this month Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu called for more “diplomatic efforts” to resolve the crisis.

 

Ye Hailin, a professor on international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Israeli delegation will hardly have any impact on China’s position.

 

“Actually China has never imposed sanctions on any country in history,” Ye said.

 

And in the case of Iran, he said, sanctions, a method to punish a party by having it suffer economic losses, does not make sense as “developing nuclear power is Iran’s state will, and that is not measured by money”.

 

“It is also a matter of national dignity, national interests and national honor, which Iran will not give up,” Ye said. Iran has never proclaimed it has nuclear weapons, and the international community has no concrete evidence of that, he added. “Although the way Teheran is ignoring international concerns makes people angry, it is not an excuse for sanctions,” Ye said.

 

Sanctions are not in line with Beijing’s interests, Ye added. “I don’t think the US will be grateful to China. But Iran will certainly hate China and the developing countries will think China has no principles.”

 

Despite Moscow’s recent change of tone on the issue, Ye said it is still too early to say whether Russia would agree to sanctions.

 

Yin Gang, an expert on Middle East studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the US would not suffer from any economic sanctions imposed on Iran due to their weak trade ties, “but for China, it will be like lifting a rock only to drop it on its own feet.”

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