Chinese Envoy Rejects Call to Rein in N.Korea

      December 10, 2010 10:34

      Cheng Yonghua

      A Chinese envoy on Thursday rejected calls for Beijing to curb North Korea made by the foreign ministers of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan earlier this week after the North's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island. Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said, "It's unreasonable for South Korea, the U.S. and Japan to ask China to use its influence over the North."

      Cheng was speaking with the Asahi Shimbun on Thursday. If the three countries "have anything to demand of the North, they should hold direct dialogue with the country," instead of China, he said. "Dialogue is the only way unless they want to aggravate the situation."

      "China does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries. That means we will say what needs to be said to our ally [North Korea] but will never interfere in its internal affairs," he added.

      He also criticized Tokyo's recent efforts to revise its defense policy to strengthen flexible and mobile deployment of troops to hold China in check. "Considering China a potential enemy is a dangerous idea that undermines the spirit of mutual trust," he said.

      Touching on brisk Chinese naval exercises, he said, "China never seeks hegemony. These are not hostile activities against Japan, and they are only aimed at training troops."

      Meanwhile, Chinese military leaders strongly criticized a warning by Gen. Burwell Bell, the former commander of the U.S. Forces Korea. Burwell said in a lecture on Dec. 3 that the Chinese economy "will fall back to 100 years ago" if China entered a war on the Korean Peninsula again.

      Peng Guangqian, a People's Liberation Army major general, commented on Bell's remarks during an Internet chat hosted by the official People's Daily Online on Wednesday. "If China falls back to 100 years ago, [the U.S.] should be prepared to fall back 200 years."

      "Currently, the order on the Korean Peninsula is maintained by the armistice agreement signed in 1953. It's still in effect, although it's temporary," he continued. "If anybody starts a war and crosses the 38th Parallel in violation of this agreement, China, as a signatory to the pact, can't stand idly by."

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