BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhua) -- A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said here Thursday that the country's oil imports from Iran are "fully reasonable and legitimate," and do not violate any relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
"China's importing of Iranian oil is based on its own economic development needs," spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing. "This is fully reasonable and legitimate."
Hong made the remarks when asked whether China is moving to cut its imports of Iranian oil in a bid to seek exemptions from new U.S. sanctions.
Stressing that China has repeatedly expressed its position on this issue, Hong said China is always against one country imposing unilateral sanctions on a certain country, and "it is even less acceptable for such unilateral sanctions to be imposed on a third country."
"China's imports do not undermine the interests of a third party, nor do they go against any relevant UN Security Council resolutions," Hong said.
The United States said last week that it will exempt seven economies from Iran oil sanctions under its National Defense Authorization Act for 2012.
The seven economies -- India, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan -- have "significantly" reduced their oil imports from Tehran, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The sanctions, which the U.S. may impose starting June 28, aim to strangle Iran's nuclear program by cutting funding from its oil industry.
China is not among the economies exempt from the U.S. sanctions.