Beijing said it shared Washington's goal of preventing Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, but does not support US efforts to impose new sanctions on Iran, the AP reported. American defense secretary Robert Gates visited Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart, Cao Gangchuan, and president Hu Jintao. Cao said that both parties should use "diplomatic means" in dealing with Iran. Gates did not mention Iran during his meeting with Hu. China agreed to sanctions against Iran proposed by the UN Security Council, but has resisted stronger measures suggested by the US, the UK and France. Beijing has traditionally avoided trade intervention and enjoys relatively strong diplomatic and economic ties with Iran.