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2 Koreas, US, China Spar Over Cheonan Sinking

Posted July. 24, 2010 11:00,   


The two Koreas, the U.S. and China sparred Friday over the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said in a 27-country free debate session that the U.N. Security Council’s presidential statement denounced North Korea’s attack on the Cheonan and sympathized with the need to prevent further hostility by Pyongyang.

He urged the North to clearly and truthfully admit its provocation and apologize for it.

North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun said Pyongyang’s proposal to send an inspection team to Seoul to objectively probe the Cheonan incident was rejected by the South, urging a “fair and objective” probe.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that if the North stops its provocations and achieves denuclearization, it can enjoy all the benefits as a responsible country of the Asian region.

In contrast, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi urged “turning the page” since the U.N. Security Council’s statement had been announced, and proposed the early resumption of the six-party nuclear talks.

The two Koreas also waged a fierce war of nerves over the wording of the chairman’s statement adopted at the forum.

One of the draft statements expressed “deep concerns” over the Cheonan sinking and condolences to the South Korean government and people, while welcoming Seoul’s “restraint” over the incident. It also voiced support for the Security Council`s presidential statement.

The draft, however, omitted expressions such as “attack” or “condemnation.” While the earlier joint statements issued by ASEAN and South Korea, China and Japan said they “deplore” the sinking, the latest statement simply expressed “deep concerns.”

The chairman’s statement also neither failed to directly mention North Korea nor cited part of the results of the South Korean civilian-military investigation into the case.