News / Asia

China Urges Restraint As US, South Korea Plan New Drills

China is appealing for all sides to avoid inflaming tensions with North Korea as the United States and South Korea conclude a major naval exercise in the Yellow Sea.

But South Korean Defense Ministry officials said Wednesday they are in talks for another major exercise with the United States to take place as early as this month.  South Korea is also planning its own live-fire artillery drills to take place next week.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted the military command saying one of the exercises would take place near Daecheong Island, located just south of the two Koreas' disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea. North Korea launched a deadly artillery attack on another island while South Korean forces were conducting a similar drill last week, firing into waters that both countries claim as their own.

In Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi saying all sides should "keep calm and exercise restraint." He is the highest ranking Chinese official to comment on the crisis.

Show of force

The joint naval exercise ending Wednesday was the largest in a series of drills staged by South Korea and the U.S. in recent months. It involved thousands of sailors, 75 aircraft and 10 warships including the nuclear-powered USS George Washington.

South Korean officials said they have not yet decided on the timing or nature of the next joint exercise. They said it would come later this month or early next year.

In New York, diplomats say China is blocking efforts at the United Nations Security Council to draw up a statement condemning North Korea for its attack on Yeonpyeong island and its development of a uranium enrichment facility.

Diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity told news services that China was unwilling to permit the use of the word "condemn" or say North Korea is in "violation" of U.N. resolutions.

Early last week, North Korea fired more than 100 artillery shells at a military garrison on the island, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians and causing widespread damage. South Korea since then has reinforced its garrison and evacuated most of the island's civilian residents.

North Korean nuclear buildup

Earlier this month, a U.S. scientist said he was shown a sophisticated uranium enrichment facility in North Korea and that he had seen more than 1,000 centrifuges in operation. Pyongyang has since claimed the facility has "thousands" of working centrifuges.

North Korea says the uranium is being enriched to power a light water reactor under construction, but foreign officials fear it could be used to make fuel for nuclear weapons.

Crisis talks

Diplomatic efforts to diffuse the tension continue on several fronts.

Foreign ministers from the United States, South Korea and Japan are to meet in Washington next week, and the issue could also come up with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at an international conference this week in Kazakhstan.

Choe Thae Bok, a close confidante of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, is in Beijing for talks, and Japan said Tuesday it was sending a senior official to China to exchange views on the situation.

China is pressing for an urgent conference to be attended by China, the United States, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas. But Washington and Tokyo have shown little interest, saying North Korea must first show it is serious about giving up its nuclear programs.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid