Chinese Defense Minister Urges Caution Over Cheonan Sinking

Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met with South Korean veterans in Beijing on Wednesday and advised caution over the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan.

A participant quoted Liang as telling a delegation from the Retired Generals and Admirals Association, "It is not advisable to reach a conclusion based on a preconceived idea about the cause of the Cheonan sinking."

Liang expressed his sympathy over the disaster but added, "Even when the final result [of the investigation] is out, it is necessary to deal with it in a cool-headed and prudent way for the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

Liang reportedly told the delegation head China awaits the outcome of the investigation. Earlier on May 7, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu also urged caution and restraint.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke Tuesday with Dai Bingguo, the Chinese state councilor for foreign affairs about the Cheonan incident and North Korean issues, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters Wednesday.

Crowley said Clinton had a "lengthy call with Chinese State Councilor Dai. It's about, I think, their second call this month. The call was just over one hour." Clinton and Dai talked about the ongoing investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan, and about its "potential ramifications once the investigation is completed."

Dai gave Clinton "a little more insight into the recent visit to Beijing by [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-il," Crowley added.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 14, 2010 10:09 KST