China, Germany leaders agree Iran should not have nuclear weapons

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao agreed during talks that Iran should not have the capability to build nuclear weapons or proliferate weapons of mass destruction.

But Merkel, speaking at a news conference, didn't say whether the two sides discussed possible sanctions on Tehran, which Germany supports and Beijing opposes.

China, a permanent U.N. Security Council member, and a bloc of European countries, including Germany, are at odds over how to get Tehran to give up its nuclear program.

"We talked about Iran, and both agreed Iran should not have the capability to make nuclear weapons and shouldn't proliferate weapons of mass destruction," Merkel said.

The German leader said she and Wen also discussed human rights, which she called "an important issue of bilateral dialogue."

Merkel is leading a 40-member trade delegation that includes business executives and German Economy Minister Michael Glos and Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee.

The two governments signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in establishing high-speed railway transport in China, but there was no indication of whether Beijing planned to buy more German technology for magnetic-levitation railways.

China has the world's only commercially operating maglev rail line in Shanghai. It announced in March that it would add a 175-kilometer (110-mile) line to the nearby city of Hangzhou at a cost of 35 billion yuan (US$4.3 billion; Ђ 3.5 billion), but hasn't said what role foreign contractors might play.

Merkel is to fly to Shanghai on Tuesday to meet with Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of China's government-backed Catholic church in what German officials say is an effort to focus on religious freedom in this communist nation, reports the AP.

I.L.