Lee Meets Chinese Envoy Over Yeonpyeong Attack

President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday met with Dai Bingguo, a Chinese state councilor in charge of foreign affairs, to discuss North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island. Dai is a sort of roving representative of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.

Lee urged China to play an active role in dealing with the North, and Dai pledged Beijing will "work to prevent a worsening of the conditions for peace."

The meeting lasted for more than two hours and was arranged at China's request, according to a presidential official.

President Lee Myung-Bak (right) meets with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Sunday. /Reuters-Newsis President Lee Myung-Bak (right) meets with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Sunday. /Reuters-Newsis

In a press briefing after the meeting, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Hong Sang-pyo said Dai bore a message from the Chinese leadership of condolences and sympathy over the loss of lives in the attack and a pledge to work together with both Koreas "to prevent a worsening of the conditions for peace between the North and South."

China also hopes to "strengthen strategic communication and cooperation between Seoul and Beijing to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula," Hong added.

Lee was quoted as telling Dai that Seoul "has been very patient with endless provocations by the North since the Korean War, but will respond strongly to any further provocations." He called on Beijing "to contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula by taking a fairer and more responsible position on inter-Korean relations."

A Foreign Ministry official said there is nothing very new in China's position. "China stressed the need to resume six-party nuclear talks while calling for dialogue and communication. In reply, we made it clear that this is not the best time for that to happen," he said.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 29, 2010 09:44 KST