BEIJING: China expressed regret Tuesday that the 2012 international conference on a Middle East being free from nuclear weapons cannot be convened on schedule.
The conference on a Middle East being free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction was due to take place in mid-December.
At a regular press briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East is conducive not only to safeguarding and strengthening the international system free of non-proliferation, but also advancing the peace process and enhancing security and stability in the region, according to (Xinhua) news agency.
"China has always supported the Middle East countries in their effort to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction," Hong said.
"We hope that the conference will be held as soon as possible in 2013," he added.
Hong said China will continue to work with other relevant parties to achieve this goal.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement released Friday that the conference cannot be held on schedule due to the present conditions in the Middle East.
She said states in the region had not been able to agree on "acceptable conditions for a conference". (QNA)