News / Asia

China Calls for Calm After Koreas Fire Artillery into Ocean

This handout picture released by Ongjin County office on March 31, 2014, shows students taking shelter at the South Korea-controlled island of Baengnyeong as North Korea started a live-fire drill. (AFP/Ongjin County Office)
This handout picture released by Ongjin County office on March 31, 2014, shows students taking shelter at the South Korea-controlled island of Baengnyeong as North Korea started a live-fire drill. (AFP/Ongjin County Office)
China is calling for calm in the Korean Peninsula after North Korea fired artillery near the South’s maritime border, and Seoul responded by firing back.

Pyongyang notified Seoul of its plans to conduct live-fire drills and then fired shells in waters that belong to South Korea, said South Korea's Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok. He called the action a planned provocation by the North aimed at testing the South's willingness to protect its water boundaries.

Kim said the South, which responded by firing about 300 shells, intended to firmly punish North Korea for the infraction.

As a precaution, South Korean authorities moved residents of the nearby islands into shelters.
 
The firing lasted hours, and happened in waters close to North Korea's western shores, where the boundaries between the two countries are contested.

North Korea does not recognize the “Northern Limit Line,” which was drawn in the 1950s and includes a number of islands physically closer to North Korea that are designated as South Korean territory.

North Korea's sole ally in the region, China, called for calm and restraint.

In Beijing, Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China is concerned about the rising temperature on the Korean peninsula. He called on all sides to remain calm and not do anything to worsen tensions.

Beijing has repeatedly stated its concern about spikes in tensions that could endanger stability in the region.

China traditionally sides with the United Nations in condemning provocative acts by the North, including the launch of missiles and developments in Pyongyang's nuclear weapon program.

But Beijing has fallen short of singling out the North, and says all parties involved have a responsibility to tone down their actions.

Cheng Xiaohe, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing says that in incidents such as Monday's exchange of fire there is not much China can do.

"The actions are not directly targeting China, but might hamper something that China has pushed for a long time: the resumption of the six-party talks," Cheng said.

The talks are a series of multilateral negotiations that stalled in 2009, after North Korea had already agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

Apart from the two Koreas, China, the U.S. and Russia,  the six-party talks also include Japan.

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by: Keith from: Chicago
March 31, 2014 11:03 AM
I believe President Xi has called for the return of China to take its natural place as a leader in the international community of nations. When meeting with President Obama, he also spoke of a 'new relationship' between the usa and prc, based on equality.
It is hard as a western observer to see the actions of china as anything more than preserving an untenable status quo on the Korean Peninsula. If the Chinese want to lead, they should show more than protecting their self interests, and be a force for peace on this issue. So far, their efforts are disappointing at best, and self-centered and pathetic at worst.
In Response

by: MistyDawn from: USA
April 06, 2014 11:15 PM
I agree with Keith. Not to mention, there is extreme gaps between those living in cities and rural poor of China. There are parts of China that do not like being apart of China (to the point of immolation). If China wants to lead, they need to prove that they can do better job.
In Response

by: Yune from: A Farm on Antartica
March 31, 2014 9:13 PM
Well, all countries are self-centered. China hasn't even started to do anything yet. So you can't say it's "pathetic"
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 31, 2014 7:04 PM
Well China should only care about her own interests like America does. Why not?

by: Paul from: Dallas
March 31, 2014 10:30 AM
China should have called N. Korea to stop right after N.Korea's provocation by shelling to S. Korea first. It has been in the past, the North is always the one who started first. That is communist's mind. They always want war with force rather than peace by negotiation. Yet, Vietnamese people had paid a big price with millions of people died because of the communism doctrine expansion.
In Response

by: MistyDawn from: USA
April 06, 2014 11:33 PM
Yes. Albeit former communist countries... Russia, Germany, China (Communist)... to name a few.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 8:59 PM
Can you please name just one communist country that attacked any other country? --- AND do you deny that the US and the 27 other NATO countries didn't attack or invade Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, using NATO rules not authorized by the UN? --- CRAZY isn't it? .. How many innocent people are killed by the US and the 27 other NATO countries in the wars they caused, isn't it? --- And they're still being killed today, thanks to the US and NATO...
In Response

by: David from: canada
March 31, 2014 11:12 AM
Actually no, North can on many occasions argue the other side provoked it, in this case SK and US just held massive drill to practice invading a country like North Korea. In past US had drills many times closer to NK mainland than South Korea on "South Korea" islands that North Korea feels should be theirs because so much closer to their mainland, and they never agreed to be South Korea. If you can't understand perspective of your opponents then much bigger risk of nuclear war eventually

by: rpgivpgmr from: Virginia, USA
March 31, 2014 10:30 AM
Name is Sea of China, not Sea of USA.

Only confusion is that China seems to identify with a single Korean, Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of North Korea in their actions rather than whole Korean population, which originally came from China. China officials appear to forget the many to honor the one!?
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 31, 2014 12:05 PM
BELIEVE IT .... China owes a never ending debt to the North Korean communists, that lost over 2 million men and women fighting for the Chinese communist army, against the Japanese and the US and European back Nationalist Chinese army... Mao's only son was killed fighting for North Korea in the Korean war.... AND the US had imposed the same sanctions and embargos through the UN on China till 1971, that they now have on North Korea now....Communist China wasn't even admitted to the UN till 1971, because the US had Taiwan representing the whole mainland of China.... The US promised China if they brokered a withdrawal (peace) plan with North Vietnam, they'd let them replace Taiwan in the UN....

PS; The UN would never had authorized the Korean war, if China had been on the Security Council, would they have? LISTEN to what China says? ... They believe in peaceful negotiations to solve political differences, and not solving the problems with war, like the US so oftentimes does...
In Response

by: Oclef from: North America
March 31, 2014 11:06 AM
Did you even read the article??

by: St John from: Manila
March 31, 2014 10:07 AM
We have to consider the role China is playing here. China is actually the threat here by supporting North Korea. Economically it appears that NK is not much benefit to China but this is deceiving. NK can be used by China in its military take over of Asia and US will not be able to do anything about it. Who helped China to where it is now? You guys tell me.
In Response

by: John sr from: Canada
March 31, 2014 10:38 AM
The USA helped China to where it is now. They even helped the Russians seeing as they supplied them both with aid/arms/vehicles during WW2. Both those countries would have been lost during that time period if it wasn't for the U.S.. Neither are any real military threat this is nothing more than the usual bull poop.

by: Sublation from: Philippines
March 31, 2014 9:55 AM
Yeah... China doesn't want any more USA warships in the area so that they can continue acting like bullies in the Sea Of China and stake claims over other nation's territory.
In Response

by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
March 31, 2014 7:11 PM
Get away from China's islands, you fino thief!
In Response

by: Freddie Jenkins
March 31, 2014 10:15 AM
I can see where one may think that, but the UN have yet to condemn china actions in the region
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