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Obama Pressures China on Cheonan Sinking

Posted June. 29, 2010 13:48,   


U.S. President Barack Obama demanded Sunday that China recognize as a military provocation North Korea`s role in the March 26 sinking of a South Korean naval vessel.

“There is a difference between restraint and willful blindness to persisting problems," he said. "My hope is that Chinese President Hu Jintao will recognize this as an example of Pyongyang going over the line.”

In a news conference after the G20 summit ended in Toronto, Japanese reporters asked for Obama’s view on China’s response to the sinking. He said, “North Korea is on their border and a collapse or chaos in North Korea may have significant impact on their security. Therefore, if they adopted a posture of restraint, I understand their thinking.”

Saying he made “very blunt” comments on the sinking in summit talks with Hu the previous day, he said, “This is not an issue where you’ve got two parties of moral equivalence who are having an argument. This is a situation where you have a belligerent nation that engaged in provocative and deadly acts. I think we should make that clear.”

Obama also said that he believes South Korean President Lee Myung-bak demonstrated extreme restraint even under such circumstances, and that shying away from ugly facts on North Korea`s behavior based on the false hope that peace will automatically come (without criticizing Pyongyang) is a bad habit that needs to be broken.

In his talks with President Lee at the InterContinental Toronto Sunday, Hu was quoted by South Korea’s presidential office, saying Beijing sufficiently understands (South) Korea’s position and would like to pursue close cooperation with Seoul in the U.N. Security Council’s dealing with the matter.

He added that China is against any action that disrupts peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, with his comments not going far from the stance maintained by Beijing on the incident.

President Lee asked for Hu’s close attention and cooperation, saying, “We need apt cooperation from the international community to prevent a recurrence of such an act as North Korea’s continued provocation poses a grave threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.”