Foreign and Military Affairs

China actively defuses Korean tensions

Updated: 2010-12-01 08:06
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BEIJING - Chinese analysts have refuted criticism that China is not acting responsibly enough to address the recent increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

It is evident that China is actively making diplomatic efforts to ease the tensions and pushing for contacts and talks among relevant parties, they said, adding that these facts should not be ignored.

John McCain, a senior U.S. senator said China "is not behaving as a responsible world power" in dealing with the Korean Peninsula situation.

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Armed Services Committee has called on China to suspend economic and energy assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to show the DPRK consequences for its "aggression."

China does not control the DPRK, and China's actions are made out of a respect for other sovereign states and humanitarian considerations, said Zhu Feng, professor at Peking University's School of International Studies.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874 adopted in June 2009 made it clear measures imposed by the resolution upon the DPRK "are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK."

"There is serious misunderstanding and hostility between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The best solution is to make every possible effort to bring the parties to negotiation to maintain peace," Zhu said.

"Only with more contact and dialogue can we ease the current tensions and find a solution acceptable to all," Zhu added.

As tensions grow, China has proposed emergency consultations be held next month between the heads of the delegations to the Six-Party Talks, Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative for the Korean Peninsula affairs, said Sunday.

The analysts also called for calm and restraint to maintain and promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

The series of large joint military drills between the ROK and the United States in the Korean Peninsula region is unprecedented, and the show of force may sting the DPRK and heighten tensions, said Tao Wenzhao, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

The ROK and the United States conducted joint military drills in March, June, August and September in the ROK and in waters off the ROK coast.

Furthermore, the two countries started a high-profile four-day drill involving the U.S. aircraft carrier George Washington Sunday, after the deadly exchange of fire between the DPRK and the ROK on November 23.

The ROK and the United States hope the drills deter the DPRK, said Shi Yinhong, a professor with the American Studies Center at Renmin University of China.

However, Shi said, this could further anger the DPRK and press the DPRK to take more aggressive countermeasures.

Shi said the most important thing at present is to push for an exchange of opinions through talks and consultations between the relevant parties to avoid misunderstandings that may cause serious consequences.

After the recent shelling incident, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said during his visit to Russia that China opposes any military provocation on the Korean Peninsula.

Wen called for the utmost restraint from all relevant parties and joint efforts by the international community to ease tensions.  China is also making unremitting efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with Chi Jae Ryong, Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to China, and held telephone conversations with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara to exchange opinions on the Korean Peninsula situation.

Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with ROK President Lee Myung-bak Sunday in Seoul.

After a long, candid and in-depth talk, the two sides said the situation on the peninsula is worrisome, agreeing that parties concerned should make joint efforts to engage in serious contact and dialogue to ease tensions and safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia.

Ni Feng, deputy director of the CASS Institute of American Studies, called on the Chinese government to make further efforts to promote talks, despite existing difficulties.

Dialogue is better than confrontation, Ni said, adding that if the situation deteriorates, the biggest losers will be the DPRK and the ROK.