News / Asia

China Steps Up Pressure on Koreas

Disputed Area between North and South Korea
Disputed Area between North and South Korea

China stepped up pressure on North and South Korea Saturday to exercise self-restraint to ease what it says are "extremely precarious" tensions on the Korean peninsula.

China summoned ambassadors from the two countries to voice its concerns about South Korean plans for live-fire artillery drills from an island the North shelled last month, and the North's vow to strike back even harder than it did last month if the South carries out the exercises.

South Korea delayed the drills on Yeonpyeong Island on Saturday because of bad weather, but a military official said it still expects to stage them on Monday or Tuesday. He said South Korea has a "right to conduct" its military drills.

China, North Korea's chief ally, said it was "firmly and unambiguously opposed" to any actions that would escalate tensions in the region. China's state news agency Xinhua quoted Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun as saying that "bloodshed and conflicts" would lead to a "national tragedy of fratricide" between the two Koreas.

North Korea has accused the United States of creating a "human shield" for the South Korean exercises by sending 20 U.S. soldiers to assist in the drills. North Korea said the Korean peninsula will "explode" if the training drills are carried out.

The United States says that South Korea has a right to conduct the drill. Russia has voiced "extreme concern" over the exercises and called for a Saturday afternoon meeting of the 15-member UN Security Council to discuss the situation.

South Korean marines carrying rifles conducted routine patrols on Saturday on the island, located 11 kilometers off the North Korean shoreline. But no warnings have been issued for residents to evacuate.

Several bloody naval skirmishes have occurred in recent years along the western sea border. But North Korea's November 23 assault on Yeonpyeong was the first by the North targeting a civilian area since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The North does not recognize the sea border in the region drawn by the United Nations.

Four people were killed on Yeonpyeong in last month's incident, including two civilians.

The governor of the U.S. state of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, is visiting Pyongyang on a private mission to try to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.  He says the situation is a "tinderbox."

The CNN cable news network says the veteran negotiator and former ambassador to the United Nations on Saturday provided the North Koreans with an undisclosed set of proposals aimed at quelling the situation. The network said it was unknown how the North Koreans responded.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged North Korea to show restraint and called on both Koreas to reduce tensions.

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

You May Like

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Indian PM Calls for Unity Amid Tense Climate Over Beef Attacks

Recent series of beef-related incidents seen as signs of rising intolerance toward Muslims and other religious minorities More

Why These Are New York City's Most Treasured Spaces

Under threat of jail time and fines, some New York property owners are not allowed to renovate their spaces without prior approval More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs