US President Barack Obama urged his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to work together on pressing Iran over its nuclear activities, but Hu did not openly commit to new sanctions on Tehran, according to official reports on Friday.
Israel is also trying to influence the Chinese on Iran. Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin traveled to China several weeks ago to present Beijing officials with intelligence on Iran. This was a rare visit, and was approved by the top echelon after it was decided that Yadlin was the right person to present the material to the Chinese.
The IDF's Planning Branch commander Major-General Amir Eshel is also slated to travel to China in the near future for similar reasons.
Obama and Hu discussed the growing international push to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions in an hour-long telephone call that followed China's agreement on Wednesday to enter into serious negotiations over possible new UN-backed sanctions against Tehran.
Western powers say Tehran wants the means to make nuclear weapons, but China - which buys large amounts of oil from Iran - has for months fended off calls to back sanctions.
Together with China's announcement on Thursday that President Hu will attend a nuclear security summit in Washington this month, the in-depth talk between the two leaders also augured lower tensions between Washington and Beijing after a rash of disputes.
"President Obama underscored the importance of working together to ensure that Iran lives up to its international obligations," the White House said in a statement after the telephone call, which took place later on Thursday Washington time, which is Friday morning in Beijing.
Western powers say Tehran is violating international nuclear safeguards and have told it to curtail uranium enrichment work, which could eventually be used to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.
Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and says its nuclear activities are peaceful.
In remarks reported on Chinese state television, Hu told Obama that he opposes the spread of nuclear weapons, but he did not directly broach Iran or sanctions.
"China has always taken seriously the issue of nuclear security, and opposed nuclear proliferation and terrorism," said Hu.
Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report