China Urges Calm Over Cheonan Sinking

      May 10, 2010 11:42

      The Chinese press and experts are taking a positive view of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's expression of willingness to return to the six-party nuclear talks. Kim was reported as saying he is keen to create "favorable conditions" for the talks.

      Jin Linbo of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations under the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said, "His remarks about his country's return to the six-party talks fell a little short of expectations, but they weren't bad. It would have been difficult for him to declare an unconditional return now that South Korea and the U.S. are not keen to resume talks until after the investigation" of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan.

      Prof. Kim Kyung-il of Peking University said a five-point agreement between the Chinese and North Korean leaders is unprecedented. "There was progress in bilateral relations," he said.

      Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu on Friday commented on the sinking of the Cheonan. She urged both Koreas to "remain cool-headed, restrain themselves, and talk and act prudently until the truth is found out," according to the official Xinhua news agency.

      Asked why Kim Jong-il was welcomed to China before the probe is concluded, Jiang said, "His visit to China was arranged long before, and the sinking of the Cheonan and Kim's visit are separate issues."

      She said Premier Wen Jiabao, who is visiting South Korea to attend a trilateral Seoul-Beijing-Tokyo summit in late May, "is considering paying an official visit separately from his attendance at the summit." It seems that Wen would like to meet with South Korea's top political and government leaders to clear up any misunderstanding over Kim's China visit.

      Jiang indirectly admitted that North Korea had asked for a press embargo over Kim's visit, saying, "We comply with a request from another country for a press embargo for a certain period of time."

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