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China, Japan, South Korea Hold Summit Amid Korean Peninsula Tensions


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and South Korea President Lee Myung-bak began a two-day summit Saturday that is expected to focus on the heightened tensions between the two Koreas.

At the start of the three-way meeting on the South Korean island of Jeju, Mr. Hatoyama pledged Japan's strong support for Seoul's push to punish North Korea through international cooperation for the sinking of a South Korean warship.

The Chinese premier offered his condolences for the 46 sailors who were killed during the sinking of the warship Cheonan March 26. He said Friday in Seoul that China condemns any act that threatens the peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

An international investigation has concluded that the South Korean vessel sank after being struck by a torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine.

Pyongyang has rejected the report, calling it a fabrication.

In a rare news conference held Friday, North Korean General Pak Rim Su said South Korea's fabrication about the Cheonan sinking has brought the Korean peninsula to the brink of war.

North Korea has scrapped all military agreements with the South.

South Korean media say South Korean troops and U.S. forces stationed in the country are on heightened alert and have stepped up aerial surveillance of the North.

Earlier this week North Korean state-run Central News Agency quoted a military commentator as saying that the report could not be objective because the international team was made up of investigators from South Korean allies the United States, Britain and Australia.

South Korea, Japan and the United States have been urging North Korea's ally China, to denounce the sinking and support moves in the U.N. Security Council to punish North Korea.

Mr. Wen says his government will review the finding of the international probe and then take a position in an "objective and fair manner."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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