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China calls for a six party summit

China called on Sunday for emergency talks with six world powers to discuss the rising tensions in the Korean peninsula

Ahram Online, Sunday 28 Nov 2010
Yellow Sea
AFP: China calls for emergency talks on N Korea
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China proposed that “emergency” six-nation talks be held early December in Beijing to address increasing military tensions following North Korea’s 23 November artillery attack on a South Korean island.

The six-party talks are a series of meetings which involved the participation of the two Koreas, the US, Russia, China and Japan. Beijing has played host to the six-party talks in the past.

In the meantime, UN sanctions committee will on Monday discuss a new report on efforts to stop renewed tensions between North and South Korea. China managed to delay the last sanction report for a few months.

South Korea and the United States staged a naval extravaganza Sunday, as North Korea warned of “delivering a brutal military blow” in response to any provocation or violation.

Residents of the border island Yeonpyeong, which was a scene for artillery exchanges last week sought shelter fearing a renewed attack.

The United States, despite Chinese opposition, joined South Korea for a little war game in the Yellow Sea to send a lucid message to an irritable North.

This is the second military crisis in eight months and the most serious since the informal end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The North maintains that it shelled the island in retaliation for a South Korean firing drill in the Yellow Sea near the disputed border claiming it was provoked.

Several world powers condemned the attack which cause the death of two civilians, two marines and exacerbated the already tense Korean relations amid plans of reuniting separated families from the 1953 war.

China did not condemn North Korea, though called for restraint and dialogue.

"The Chinese side, after careful study, proposes to have emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the six-party talks in early December in Beijing to exchange views on major  issues of concern to the parties at present," said Wu Dawei, China's top North Korea envoy Sunday, as quoted in AFP.

 The South’s President Lee Myung-Bak said that China should have "a fairer and more responsible stance in its relations with the two Koreas."

A senior North Korean official, Choe Thae-Bok is to visit China Tuesday, but no further details have been given. 

The South Korean drill is one of a series announced in May following an investigation showing that the warship sunk in March was the North’s responsibility.

Sunday’s drill was led by the USS George Washington, whose capacity mounts to about 75 aircrafts and has a crew of 5,500. The US’s squad also included a carrier air wing and vessels such as the USS Cowpens and Fitzgerald.

An anti-submarine aircraft and six South Korean warships were to participate including a 7,600-tonne Aegis-class destroyer according to Seoul. 

President Lee said Seoul "would respond strongly if the North makes any additional provocation", his office added Sunday. He was criticised for not taking a harder approach to North Korea and, on Thursday, his defence minister resigned claiming responsibility. The president is scheduled to give a speech regarding the crisis on Monday 0100 GMT.
 

 

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