China urges separation of Kim's visit, warship sinking amid "partiality" criticism

09:15, May 08, 2010      

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China urged Friday to separate the China tour of Kim Jong Il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), from the sinking of a Republic of Korea (ROK) warship amid complaints about its alleged different treatment towards the two countries.

Both the ROK and the DPRK are China's important close neighbors, and to develop good-neighborly friendship with neighboring nations is China's persistent policy, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

Jiang made the remarks when answering a journalist's question about the comment that China displayed partiality by welcoming Kim before the conclusion of the probe into the warship sinking, in which the DPRK was doubted by some to be involved. The DPRK has firmly denied its involvement.

Jiang said Kim's unofficial visit to China from May 3 to 7 was arranged long before, and the visit and the sinking of the corvette Cheonan were two separate events.

She said the "partiality" remarks by some ROK people did not represent the official position of the ROK government.

The ROK foreign ministry had explained to China on this matter, and it also specially released statements to media to clarify its position, said Jiang.

The 1,200-ton ROK warship with 104 crew members aboard sank in late March near a border with the DPRK, after an unexplained blast split the ship in two.

Jiang said the sinking was an unfortunate emergency, and China had extended condolences and sympathy for the ROK side.

China maintained that the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia should be taken as a top concern when addressing the warship issue, she said.

"Before the complete fact is found, each side should keep calm and practise restraint, and be cautious on words and deeds," Jiang said.


Frequent high level visits between China and the ROK played an important role in advancing bilateral ties, Jiang said when applauding the ROK's support to and participatation in the World Expo in Shanghai.

ROK President Lee Myung-bak attended the opening ceremony of the Expo on April 30.

China was actively considering sending Premier Wen Jiabao to the third tripartite summit of China, Japan and the ROK scheduled for late May in the ROK.

Premier Wen may also pay an official visit to the ROK during the summit. Jiang hoped this visit would help promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation in politics, economy, culture and various fields, and enrich the content of China-ROK strategic cooperative partnership.


China's official media reported Kim's visit Friday, the day when the DPRK leader wrapped up its China tour, which was interpreted by some international critics as a lack of transparency to the outside world.

"China's Xinhua News Agency released detailed reports of DPRK leader Kim Jong Il's visit Friday morning. I believe journalists can get, transparently, necessary information from the (Xinhua) reports," Jiang said.

"China and the DPRK enjoy a tradition of high level visits, and based on our convention, and out of our respect and responsibility for a visiting foreign leader, we released related news Friday morning," Jiang said. "If other foreign leaders put forward similar requests during their visits, we would like to consider their requests and spare no effort to arrange in the same way."


When commenting on the possbile bearing of Kim's visit on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Jiang said China hopes all parties concerned could show flexibility and sincerity to make joint effort for pushing forward the six-party talks on the issue.

Kim pledged when meeting with Chinese leaders that his country was committed to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, saying his country remained unchanged in this regard.

He said the DPRK would work with other concerned parties to create favorable conditions to revive the six-party nuclear talks, which involves China, the United States, the DPRK, the ROK, Japan and Russia.

China always maintained that to keep peace and stability on the Peninsula is in line with the common interests of all Northeast Asian countries, Jiang said.

The six-party talks was launched in 2003 but hit a snag in April 2009 when Pyongyang pulled out of the talks in protest of the UN condemnation of its missile tests.



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