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U.S., China, Russia express concern over Korean tensions

U.S., China, Russia express concern over Korean tensions

Posted April. 04, 2013 07:10,   


Countries surrounding the Korean Peninsula have all expressed concerns over the escalating tensions on the peninsula following North Korea’s continued threats of provocations. South Korea and the United States are considering holding a three-party dialogue involving the two countries and China to have in-depth discussions about North Korea issues.

During an interview with American Broadcasting Company (ABC) at the truce village of Panmunjom on Wednesday, James Thurman, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, said that the situation on the peninsula was “dangerous” and “volatile,” stressing that his greatest fear was the possibility that Pyongyang’s miscalculation would lead to a military provocation.

“We protect the homeland number one and make sure all our assets are available so we can provide protection if necessary,” he said. “Everything is on the table.” ABC reported that although he did not specify what the protection options might be, they had something to do with the U.S. deployment of high-tech weapons systems to the peninsula.

Noting that Pyongyang’s threats should be taken seriously, the U.S. general said, "There’s 14,000 tubes of artillery just across this line beyond that far mountain range over there...I think we got to be ready to go.” “My job is to prevent war,” he said, adding that he believed the situation would “calm down” and that he was “optimistic about it.”

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui summoned South Korean Ambassador to China Lee Kyu-hyung and his North Korean counterpart Park Myong Ho and Robert S. Wang, Charge d`Affaires of the U.S. embassy in Beijing, to express Beijing’s concern about the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, urging them to defuse the tensions. In particular, Zhang gave a serious warning to the North Korean ambassador, saying that Beijing was “very seriously concerned” about Pyongyang’s recent war rhetoric.

Grigory Logvinov, head of Russian delegation at six-party talks over North Korea nuclear issue, told reporters Wednesday that it is important to not allow a war scenario on the peninsula and keep the situation within the political and diplomatic framework. He stressed, “It’s time to stop any rhetoric, to refrain from all action which causes tensions to rise.”

Meanwhile, a senior South Korean official visiting Washington said Tuesday, local time, that the two allies were considering ways to create a three-way dialogue regime with China to have deep discussions about North Korea issues.

The official said that although the speed might not be fast because China’s strategic interest (on North Korea) did not change quickly, it is possible for the three countries to strengthen their cooperation as Beijing have some common interest with Seoul and Washington. The plan is interpreted as a strategic move to involve China as a responsible party to jointly prepare for North Korea`s future, including a sudden crisis, considering the recent situation of China, which confronts the growing criticism toward the North.