China urges dialogue

Ahram Online, Tuesday 7 Dec 2010

China pushes for dialogue, criticising the US and its Asian allies for refusing to hold talks with N Korea

Trilateral negotiations
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) talks next to S.Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan (R) and Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara (L) during a news conference at the U.S. State Department in Washington, 6 December 2010. (Reuters)

China urged for dialogue criticising the United States and its Asian allies for refusing to hold talks with North Korea.

It adopted a more aggressive tone after US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton hosted talks with her Japanese and South Korean counterparts, neglecting to invite China.

Beijing also condemned a Washington Post report published Sunday alleging China had pushed North Korea to "behave with impunity".

"We feel the accusation is irresponsible," foreign ministry spokesman Jiang Yu was quoted in AFP saying. "China’s efforts (to maintain peace and stability) have been witnessed by all."

Tensions escalated in the Korean peninsula following a fire exchange between the two Koreas at a border Island on 23 November.

Following the incident which killed 4 South Koreans, Pyongyang divulged a uranium enrichment program that alarmed the West.

The report quoted an unnamed US official saying "The Chinese embrace of North Korea in the last eight months has served to convince North Korea that China has its back and has encouraged it to behave with impunity."

China has repeatedly called for six-party talks including Russia, Japan, the two Koreas, the US and itself. Beijing clarified that it would not constitute a resumption of the initial six-party negotiations that revolved around North Korea’s nuclear programme but would be convenient to discuss the region’s current security concerns.

Beijing has been excluded from the current three-way meeting between South Korea, the United States and Japan.

When spokesman Jiang was asked to respond to China’s exclusion from the talks he said, as quoted in AFP, "The responsibility for safeguarding peace and stability should be shouldered by all parties in the region. We call on all parties to positively respond to our proposal for talks."

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