Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that China was concerned about the global economic impact of tougher sanctions against Iran.
At a news conference concluding a two-day nuclear security summit, Obama said negotiations among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - including China - sought agreement on the issue of Iran sanctions.
Obama did not offer any indication of when the issue might be resolved, only saying he wanted a conclusion as soon as possible.
Chinese officials have said in recent days that diplomacy, not sanctions, is the best strategy for dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The Chinese are "obviously concerned about what ramifications this might have on the economy generally," Obama said, noting Iran is an oil-producing state. "I think that a lot of countries around the world have a trade relationship with Iran. We're mindful of that."
At the same time, Obama said Iran has repeatedly flouted international regulations regarding its nuclear energy program, raising concerns in the international community.
"Words have to mean something," Obama said of the international agreements and agencies that regulate nuclear activity.
Tougher sanctions against Iran would be designed to show the Tehran government that it would realize more costs than benefits to pursue a
non-peaceful military nuclear program, Obama said.
"I think these negotiations can be difficult," Obama said, promising to make the strongest case he can.