China hits back at crit­i­cism over North Korea

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

BEI­JING: China Tues­day hit back at the United States and its Asian al­lies for their re­fusal to talk to North Korea, say­ing di­a­logue was the only way to calm es­ca­lat­ing ten­sion on the di­vided Korean penin­sula.

China took a more bel­liger­ent tone a day af­ter U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton hosted her South Korean and Ja­panese coun­ter­parts in Washington, call­ing a re­port that it was shield­ing Py­ongyang's nu­clear pro­gram an "ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­cu­sa­tion."

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have been luke­warm to­ward Bei­jing's pro­posal for emer­gency talks be­tween the six re­gional pow­ers, wor­ried they could be per­ceived as re­ward­ing Py­ongyang for its deadly at­tack on a South Korean is­land two weeks ago.

They want China to bring its ally North Korea to heel, pres­sure Bei­jing has re­peat­edly re­sisted.

"The

re­spon­si­bil­ity

of main­tain­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in North­east Asia should be shoul­dered by all par­ties in the re­gion," China's for­eign min­istry spokes­woman Jiang Yu told a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence.

"All par­ties are stake­hold­ers. We call on the par­ties to pos­i­tively re­spond to our pro­pos­als to re­solve the con­flict through di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion." China, the North's main ally and host of stalled six-party talks with North Korea, has been try­ing hard to take a neu­tral line in the dis­pute.

It was not in­vited to Mon­day's tri­lat­eral meet­ing in Washington which put the onus on Bei­jing to take ac­tion.

Clin­ton said she was open to re­sum­ing talks on the North's nu­clear am­bi­tions-the six-party talks in­clude the two Koreas, China, Ja­pan, Rus­sia and the United States-but Py­ongyang must first take steps to end its bel­liger­ence and keep its 2005 com­mit­ment to aban­don its nu­clear pro­grams.

"I think the fact that it took Hu and Obama 13 days even to talk about the at­tack shows what lit­tle chance there is of any real agree­ment," said Brian My­ers, an ex­pert on the North's ide­ol­ogy at Dongseo Uni­ver­sity. "I agree with the South Korean con­sen­sus that the Chi­nese are sim­ply try­ing to look like they're do­ing some­thing for peace, with­out hav­ing to of­fend the North."

An­a­lysts say Py­ongyang will likely carry out more provo­ca­tions fol­low­ing last month's at­tack and its lat­est rev­e­la­tions of nu­clear ad­vances for two rea­sons: to ce­ment a fa­therto-son lead­er­ship tran­si­tion and to win con­ces­sions at any in­ter­na­tional talks. "The bot­tom line: North Korea isn't go­ing to change is be­hav­ior any time soon, and the United States, South Korea and the world will have to live with this re­al­ity," said An­drew Sco­bell, a North Korea ex­pert at the U.S. Army War Col­lege. -Reuters

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