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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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 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 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.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid