By John T. Bennett - 09/12/11 02:24 PM EDT
The U.S. has yet to uncover any evidence showing China sold arms to embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi or his loyalist forces, a senior Obama administration official said Monday.
When pressed by administration officials, Chinese leaders confirmed talks did occur, Susan Rice, Washington's ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters.
"We've seen nothing to contradict" those claims, Rice said.
Selling arms to Gadhafi and his loyalists would violate measures passed by the United Nations.
But Rice said she sees "no pattern of Chinese violations" of arms sales measures.
The Chinese officials told their U.S. counterparts they plan to "strengthen internal controls" to ensure such meetings do not again take place, Rice said.
Meantime, she reiterated the administration's opposition to a bid by the Palestinians to garner statehood in the U.N.'s eyes.
The Palestinians are pushing for a Security Council vote soon that would give that entity's recognition of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The Obama administration opposes the move, with Rice saying repeatedly during the breakfast that it sees negotiations as the lone path to the creation of a Palestinian state.
"There is no shortcut," Rice said, noting passage of "pieces of paper" at the U.N. would not create a Palestinian nation "in practice or in theory."
"What will happen the day after?" she asked rhetorically. "What will change for the Palestinian people? The answer is nothing."
Seeking a U.N. statehood resolution before "fundamental issues" between the Palestinians and Israelis are ironed out would be "backwards" and have "very real world consequences," Rice said.
U.S. officials are pressing a number of nations about those potential consequences if they support the proposed Palestinian resolution, she said.
Rice also pushed back on congressional Republicans' attempts to alter Washington's funding for the international body.
The ambassador contended past threats by Washington to limit its U.N. funds as a way to influence outcomes ultimately failed in the 1980s, and hindered its influence with other member nations for some time.