News / Asia

Chinese, Japanese Leaders Discuss N. Korea Tensions

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met in Tokyo Monday for talks that included rising tensions between North and South Korea over the sinking of South Korean warship in March.

Mr. Hatoyama again urged the Chinese prime minister to support efforts to reprimand North Korea for the incident which killed 46 sailors.

South Korea has said it will ask the U.N. security council this week to take up the matter of the March sinking of the warship Cheonan.  South Korea and an international investigation blame Pyongyang for firing a torpedo at the ship.  Pyongyang denies responsibility.

After a summit with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Mr. Hatoyama Saturday, Mr. Wen said there is an urgent need to avoid conflict between the two Koreas.

But he did not join Mr. Hatoyama and Mr. Lee in blaming the incident on North Korea. China is North Korea's only major ally and is reluctant to do anything that could destabilize its impoverished neighbor. 

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports that South Korea's vice foreign minister in charge of U.N. affairs is heading to the United States for talks in New York and Washington.  Yonhap says Chun Yung-woo is a top nonproliferation official.

On Sunday, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said he is worried North Korea may follow up the attack with a second provocative act.  Admiral Michael Mullen said North Korean leader Kim Jong Il tends not to stop after a single move.

North Korea staged a mass rally in Pyongyang Sunday in which thousands of people raised their fists in support of the government in its dispute with South Korea.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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