China for close consultations to deal with Korean crisis

Tensions mounted in Korean peninsula over the sinking of S Korean Navy ship.

Beijing: As tensions mounted in Korean peninsula over the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel by North Korea, China has proposed close communication and consultation with US to resolve the stand off.

China and US should keep up communication and consultation on issues concerning each other`s major interests such as the Iran nuclear issue and the Korean nuclear issue, Ma Zhaoxu, spokesman of the Chinese delegation attending the US-China strategic dialogue, told at the end of the first round talks.

The Chinese delegation headed by State Councillor Dai Bingguo in his talks with US team led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proposed that the two countries deal with disputes with an objective and calm attitude, and not to let the overall situation of China-US cooperation deteriorate due to "temporary difficulties".

The proposal came as Hillary in her speech at the opening of the two day dialogue directly asked Chinese leaders to support South Korean sanctions against North Korea for "sinking" the warship.

"North Korea is also a matter of urgent concern. Last year, we worked together to pass and enforce a strong UNSC resolution in the wake of North Korea`s nuclear test. And today we face another serious challenge, provoked by the sinking of the South Korean ship", Hillary said.

Later, US officials said Hillary has vociferously took up the issue with her Chinese interlocutors but appeared irritated as Pyongyang was not prepared to take a direct stand against its reclusive ally.

Not letting the dialogue to be confined to the Korean crisis, China has proposed that "the two countries should also enhance consultation and cooperation on counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and the fight against cross-border crimes".

As Hillary held talks in Beijing, Washington has confirmed that it will hold naval exercises with its close ally South Korea, which would include joint anti-submarine and other military exercises "in the near future".

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak earlier announced trade sanctions against the North pledging to punish Pyongyang for the attack.

Though North Korea denied its role, its involvement was established by team of international investigators who had found remnants of a torpedo that blasted the naval ship on a routine surveillance mission.

The torpedo resembled the type North Korea has in its arsenal.

The US and Japan said they fully backed the South and sought Chinese assistance to reign on the North.

PTI

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