China’s Hu tells Obama wor­ried by Korea cri­sis

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

BEI­JING: China is highly concerned about the sit­u­a­tion on the Korean penin­sula, which could spi­ral out of con­trol if not dealt with prop­erly, Pres­i­dent Hu Jin­tao told U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in a tele­phone call on Mon­day.

The con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Obama and Hu took place as South Korea started live-fir­ing naval ex­er­cises, 13 days af­ter the North shelled a South Korean is­land close to a dis­puted mar­itime de­mar­ca­tion line. "Es­pe­cially with the present sit­u­a­tion, if not dealt with prop­erly, ten­sions could well rise on the Korean penin­sula or spin out of con­trol, which would not be in any­one's in­ter­est," Chi­nese state news agency Xin­hua para­phrased Hu as say­ing.

"The most press­ing task at present is to calmly deal with the sit­u­a­tion," Hu added, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

China has faced calls from the United States and its al­lies to do more to rein in its ally North Korea af­ter con­fronta­tion be­tween Py­ongyang and Seoul flared last month when North Korea shelled a South Korean is­land. Bei­jing has re­sponded by call­ing for talks to defuse ten­sions.

Later in the day in Washington, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton hosts talks with her Ja­panese and South Korean coun­ter­parts to dis­cuss the North Korean at­tack on Yeon­pyeong is­land.

The for­eign min­is­ters of South Korea and Ja­pan will meet Clin­ton to dis­cuss North Korea. They are ex­pected to pro­duce a state­ment con­demn­ing Py­ongyang's ac­tions.

China, the chair of stalled in­ter­na­tional nu­clear talks with Py­ongyang, is not in­vited. How­ever, the Washington troika are ex­pected to dis­cuss Bei­jing's pro­posal for emer­gency re­gional talks on the cri­sis. "These talks aim to dis­cuss ways on how to lead North Korea to act in a good way and the re­sults of the talks will send this mes­sage to other coun­tries in­clud­ing Rus­sia and China," for­eign min­istry spokesman Kim Young-sun told a news brief­ing in Seoul.

Ten­sions have risen to their high­est level in decades on the penin­sula af­ter the Yeon­pyeong at­tack, which came days af­ter the North's rev­e­la­tion it had made sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in its nu­clear pro­gram.

South Korea started na­tion­wide live-fire naval ex­er­cises on Mon­day, ig­nor­ing Py­ongyang's warn­ings against con­duct­ing provoca­tive drills in dis­puted wa­ters off the west coast of the di­vided penin­sula. The South's mil­i­tary said the ex­er­cises were sched­uled to take place in the vicin­ity of the tense North­ern Limit Line (NLL), but not near Yeon­pyeong is­land which was hit by a bar­rage of North Korean shells 13 days ago. -Reuters

BER­LIN: Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Guido Wester­welle (R-L), Pol­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Ra­doslaw Siko­rsk and Ger­man Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble await the start of a meet­ing of both coun­tries govern­ment. -Ap

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