Beijing seeks diplomacy for ROK-DPRK tensions

By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-01 08:09
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BEIJING - China said on Tuesday that it believed all parties will seriously consider its proposal for an emergency meeting by representatives of the Six-Party Talks, urging the relevant sides to resolve their respective concerns in the framework of the multi-lateral dialogue.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said it is extremely urgent to bring issues involving the Korean Peninsula back to the negotiating table.

"It is in the interests of all sides - and is the expectation of the international community," Hong said during a regular news briefing.

"Maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula", he added, "is the shared responsibility of all sides".

Hong said China was aware of earlier reports of Pyongyang's latest uranium enrichment program, and also urged dialogue on that issue as well.

Reuters quoted Japan's Nikkei News Agency as saying that the foreign ministers of the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan will meet in Washington on Dec 6 to discuss the crisis with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as well the Chinese proposal for the emergency consultations.

So far, all have voiced reservations about holding the six-way informal talks. The reports said the three countries hoped to nudge China to use its leverage to restrain the DPRK.

In a further bid to ease growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday, Beijing began hosting a visit by Choe Thae-bok, the chairman of the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly and secretary of the Workers Party's Central Committee.

This represents the first time a senior DPRK leader has visited China since the two Koreas exchanged artillery fire last week in waters off the peninsula near a disputed maritime border.

State Councilor Dai Bingguo will visit the DPRK as early as Wednesday, Kyodo News Agency said quoted diplomatic sources in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Japan's chief negotiator at the Six-Party Talks, Akitaka Saiki, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei.

In another development, Pyongyang on Tuesday warned that the continuing military drill by the United States and the ROK could lead to "all-out war any time".

Pyongyang's KCNA news service said that if the joint forces fire once into the territorial waters of the DPRK, there would be serious consequences.

Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee said that, given the circumstances, China's proposal is a responsible one.

However he added, the US, the ROK and Japan appear disinterested in stabilizing the situation through diplomacy in lieu of first punishing the DPRK before returning to the negotiating table.

He said both Pyongyang and Seoul are now pursuing a hard-line policy after the clashes, and that the peninsula is on the brink of war.

Wang Chenyan and agencies contributed to this story.

China Daily