North Korea Leadership Watch

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China Reiterates Call To "Reduce Tensions"

President Lee Myung-bak (center), Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama (left) and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao give a joint news conference after their trilateral summit on Jeju Island on Sunday. (Yonhap News)

After meeting with ROK President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated his country’s neutral position on the DPRK’s role in the sinking of the Cheonan.  Lee Chi-dong reports from Jeju Island:

Wen said the Northeast Asian nations should make joint efforts for peace and stability in the region, repeating his government’s steadfast stance in dealing with North Korea.

“We must promote peace and stability in the Northeast Asian region through every effort,” Wen said. “We should be considerate of each other on a grave issue, deal reasonably with a sensitive matter and strengthen political trust.”

Wen’s remarks, which steered clear of any direct mention of North Korea, indicated that Beijing’s position has not changed much on the communist neighbor or the sunken ship.

Xinhua reports:

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday calls for proper handling of the fallout from the March sinking of a South Korean warship and gradually defusing tensions over the incident. “The pressing task for the moment is to properly handle the serious impact caused by the Cheonan (the South Korean warship) incident, gradually defuse tensions over it, and avoid possible conflicts,” Wen said.

Wen was speaking at a joint press conference following a two-day summit meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on the South Korean resort island.

Wen said efforts should be made to help steer the situation toward a direction which is conducive to peace and stability in the region.

Peace and stability are a precondition for the development in the region, otherwise regional development would be impossible, he warned.

China will continue keeping close communication with South Korea over the Cheonan incident, he said.

Kim So-hyun reports in Korea Herald:

Wen apparently faces renewed pressure from both Seoul and Tokyo to join in blaming the North for its latest naval attack on the South.

“China will make proactive efforts for closer communication and seek to tackle the (Cheonan) issue in a direction that promotes peace and stability of the Northeast Asian region,” Wen said during his speech concluding the summit.

“Without continued efforts for regional peace and security as the precondition, hard-earned progress in other areas of trilateral cooperation will disappear.”

Noting that “resolving the tension and repercussions of the Cheonan case” was the “most pressing” security task now, the Chinese leader stressed that “a collision must be avoided.”

Wen added that the three countries must closely discuss important issues, deal with sensitive matters in a proper way and solidify political trust.

President Lee said during his speech that “resolute, due procedures” must be taken in response to the alleged attack on the South Korean naval ship.

“As responsible members of the international community, Japan and China are expected to wisely cooperate in dealing with the Cheonan case,” Lee said.

“We hope to overcome the difficult times with such cooperation and seek our goal of achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula and peaceful unification.”

Meanwhile, according to Yonhap business dealings and other DPRK-PRC interactions have continued, including a recent meeting between a senior provinicial Chinese official and KJI cohort, North Pyongan Party boss Kim Pyong-hae.

China appears to be seeking greater economic cooperation with North Korea, despite tensions over the North’s sinking of a South Korean naval ship, as provincial officials exchange visits and Beijing’s top envoy calls for greater business ties.

Wang Min, a top communist party official in China’s northeastern province of Liaoning, visited North Korea on Thursday last week for economic cooperation talks, according to Chinese media reports published Sunday.

In a meeting with Kim Pyong-hae, a top communist party official in the North’s South Pyongan Province, Wang proposed that the two sides strengthen friendship through economic cooperation and seek mutual prosperity. Kim agreed to the proposal, according to the reports.

Wang’s delegation also toured a cosmetics factory and a kindergarten.

Kim was one of the North Korean officials who accompanied leader Kim Jong-il on his rare trip to China in early May.

Ahead of Wang’s trip, China’s ambassador to North Korea, Liu Hongcai, convened a meeting in Pyongyang of representatives of 14 Chinese entities investing in the North and called for expanding trade and investment in the communist neighbor, according to media reports.

DPRK stamps commemorating KJI's visit to China

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This article was written on 30 May 2010, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, DPRK-China Relations, DPRK-Japan Relations, Inter-Korean Relations.

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