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S. Korea, China, Japan to Cooperate on Cheonan Sinking

Posted May. 31, 2010 12:34,   


President Lee Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao agreed Sunday to continue consultations on the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan.

The three leaders reached the agreement in their third trilateral summit at the Jeju Convention Center Saturday and Sunday.

They released a joint statement saying, “The leaders of Japan and China paid respects to the victims of the Cheonan incident, and conveyed condolences to their bereaved families and the Korean people.”

“Leaders of Japan and China valued the joint probe by the Republic of Korea and the international joint inspection team, and the responses of various countries. The leaders of the three nations will continue consulting each other to ensure regional peace and stability and to properly cope with the matter.”

President Lee told a joint news conference, “To attain the ultimate goal of prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula, the incident must undergo the appropriate process we must address,” adding, “I believe that the leaders of Japan and China also have a consensus on this issue in principle.”

“China and Japan are very responsible countries in the international community, and I expect them to wisely cooperate in addressing this issue. We have the goal of bringing peace and peaceful unification to the Korean Peninsula by doing so and overcoming this difficult situation.”

Wen said, “The most urgent task is to ease the serious influence of the Cheonan incident, change (ease) tension gradually, and avoid conflict more than anything,” adding, “We must hold a wider examination, communicate with each other, and properly coordinate to direct this incident into an orientation toward improving peace and stability.”

“We must reinforce communication to assure the fundamental interests of the three nations, reciprocally consider the other’s position on important issues, properly handle sensitive issues, and strengthen political trust,” he added. “We must make every effort and thus improve peace and stability in Northeast Asia.”

Hatoyama said, “We came to share the consensus that the Cheonan incident is a serious matter related to peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” adding, “The three nations have been confirmed to closely cooperate with each other in this matter going forward.”

On Beijing’s fear of increased military tension on the peninsula in the second session of the summit, President Lee’s chief spokesman Lee Dong-kwan quoted him as saying, “We’re neither afraid of war nor do we want war. We have no intent to go to war. But we shouldn’t be lenient to ensure that North Korea stop going astray and direct Pyongyang onto the righteous path.”

Wen is known to have responded by saying, “China is a responsible country. We will respect the results of the investigation by the international joint inspection team and countries’ responses to it. We oppose and condemn any action that disrupts peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

Hatoyama said, “The six-party talks will be resumed only after North Korea clearly reflects on the incident and apologizes. It is natural that this case is referred to the U.N. Security Council, and Japan will strongly support it. We should not send the wrong message to North Korea.”

Presidential spokesman Lee said, “The inclusion of the Cheonan incident in the statement is in and of itself a major step forward,” adding, “The joint statement contains the bottom line among consensus on various issues.”