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China urges separation of Kim's visit, warship sinking amid "partiality" criticism

05-08-2010 08:15 BJT

BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- China urged Friday to separate the China tour of Kim Jong Il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), from the sinking of a Republic of Korea (ROK) warship amid complaints about its alleged different treatment towards the two countries.

Both the ROK and the DPRK are China's important close neighbors, and to develop good-neighborly friendship with neighboring nations is China's persistent policy, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

Jiang made the remarks when answering a journalist's question about the comment that China displayed partiality by welcoming Kim before the conclusion of the probe into the warship sinking, in which the DPRK was doubted by some to be involved. The DPRK has firmly denied its involvement.

Jiang said Kim's unofficial visit to China from May 3 to 7 was arranged long before, and the visit and the sinking of the corvette Cheonan were two separate events.

She said the "partiality" remarks by some ROK people did not represent the official position of the ROK government.

The ROK foreign ministry had explained to China on this matter, and it also specially released statements to media to clarify its position, said Jiang.

The 1,200-ton ROK warship with 104 crew members aboard sank in late March near a border with the DPRK, after an unexplained blast split the ship in two.

Jiang said the sinking was an unfortunate emergency, and China had extended condolences and sympathy for the ROK side.

China maintained that the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia should be taken as a top concern when addressing the warship issue, she said.

"Before the complete fact is found, each side should keep calm and practise restraint, and be cautious on words and deeds," Jiang said.


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