China to be "impartial" on S. Korean warship sinking: premier

07:56, June 02, 2010      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) is interviewed by public broadcaster NHK in Tokyo, Japan, June 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday reiterated China's pledge to take an "impartial" stand on the sinking of a South Korean warship.

"The sinking of the warship Cheonan is an unfortunate incident," Wen said during an interview with Japanese public broadcaster NHK. "We have offered condolences to the victims on many occasions."

What China has in mind in approaching the incident, in which 46 South Korean sailors died after their warship sank in March, is maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, he said.

China attaches importance to the joint investigation conducted by South Korea and other countries and the reactions of various parties, and will take its position on the basis of truth and facts, he added.

China appealed for calm on the part of the concerned parties so as to avoid a further escalation of tension and even conflict, he said.

The Chinese premier said China understands the current difficult situation President Lee Myung-bak and the South Korean government are facing.

China will seek information from various sources and seriously study it before making clear its stand in "a fair and objective manner," he said.

"We will adopt an impartial position," he said. China also maintains that any approach on it must serve the fundamental interest of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, he added.

Wen said Japan is an important country in Northeast Asia and a close neighbor of China and South Korea. China is ready to cooperate with Japan on such issues as safeguarding security in Northeast Asia, he added.

Japan is the second leg of Wen's four-nation Asian tour, which has already taken him to South Korea. He will also visit Mongolia and Myanmar.



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