Washington: China`s behaviour amid the surge in tensions on the Korean peninsula shows that it is "not a responsible world power”, US Senator John McCain charged on Sunday.
McCain`s remarks came as the United States and South Korea began naval operations in a potent show of force, just days after Pyongyang bombarded a South Korean island, killing four people.
"The key to this, obviously, is China. And unfortunately China is not behaving as a responsible world power," McCain, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on CNN`s `State of the Union`.
"It cannot be in China`s long-term interest to see a renewed conflict on the Korean Peninsula," he added. China "could bring the North Korean economy to its knees if they wanted to. And I cannot believe that the Chinese should, in a mature fashion, not find it in their interest to restrain North Korea. So far, they are not," he stressed.
China has not joined other world powers in criticising the North`s island bombing.
US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen also yesterday called on China to take a stronger stand against Pyongyang, which he said poses a serious threat.
"It`s hard to know why China doesn`t push harder," he said on CNN, adding they try to keep Kim under control.
"I`m not sure he is controllable," Mullen said. The risk, "if we get it wrong, all of us, including China," is that North Korea could, eventually, "be able to threaten ballistically -- a ballistic missile capability which will threaten the United States and others."
Earlier yesterday, China called for "emergency consultations" in Beijing early next month among chief envoys to the stalled six-nation talks on the North`s nuclear disarmament.
Its top envoy on North Korea, Wu Dawei, speaking in Beijing, stressed the proposal did not constitute a formal resumption of the negotiations. But he said he hoped they would lead to such a resumption soon.