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China says nothing should be done to "inflame" Korean Peninsula situation

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- China said Wednesday the most pressing task regarding tensions on the Korean Peninsula is to prevent any escalation and avoid any actions that would "inflame the situation."

"The parties concerned should keep calm and exercise restraint, and work to bring the situation back onto the track of dialogue and negotiation," said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi while addressing a forum in Beijing.

"As a big responsible country, China decides its position based on the merits of each case and does not seek to protect any side," Yang said.

Yang's remarks came after the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States on Sunday launched a four-day joint naval drill in waters west of the divided peninsula, following the exchange of artillery fire last week between the ROK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"Showing power and confrontation is not a solution to problems and not in the interests of related parties," Yang said at a forum on Asia Pacific issues.

"China is highly concerned about the current situation," Yang said. "Stability on the Korean Peninsula is conducive to all; chaos there is detrimental to all."

"The Chinese side has made a series of efforts to prevent the situation from escalating and worsening," Yang said.

China on Sunday proposed emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks in Beijing in early December.

The talks group China, the DPRK, the United States, the ROK, Russia and Japan.

Yang said the emergency consultations would "help ease the current tensions and create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks."

"We will make continued efforts to encourage all parties to work together to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia," Yang said.

Last week, Yang held phone conversations with counterparts from the ROK, the United States, Russia and Japan. He also met with the DPRK Ambassador to China Chi Jae Ryong.

Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo Sunday talked over phone with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about recent events on the Korean Peninsula, saying China and the United States should help ease tensions and facilitate dialogue.

Akitaka Saiki, Japan's chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks, held talks in Beijing with Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs.

Choe Tae Bok, chairman of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, began a five-day visit to China on Tuesday, at the invitation of Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China.

Later Wednesday, Wu held talks with Choe at the Great Hall of the People.

Wu said it was his third meeting with Choe this year.

Their first meeting took place when DPRK leader Kim Jong Il visited China in May. Choe was part of Kim's entourage. Wu and Choe also met on the sidelines of an international parliamentary leaders' meeting in Geneva in July.

"Three meetings in a year reflected our special relations," Wu said, adding he expected Choe's visit to boost bilateral relations, including ties between the legislatures.

Choe will discuss the bilateral relationship, inter-parliamentary exchanges, and issues of common concern during his visit and also travel to northeast China's Jilin Province.

Some participants at the forum echoed Yang's remarks, saying the maintenance of peace and stability is the priority for the region.

Georgian Ambassador to China Karlo Sikharulidze said all parties should exercise calm and restraint while bringing the situation back to dialogue and negotiation.

Escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula can deepen strategic misgivings between related countries and undermine cooperation and coordination, which harms regional stability, said Yu Shaohua, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies.

Yu said the primary goal of all parties is to maintain regional peace and stability.

"Using force is impractical. Dialogue and negotiation are the only practical and feasible solutions to the issue," he added.

Yu also said the Six-Party Talks should be restarted, adding that other mechanisms cannot match their broadness of participation and representativeness of safety concerns.

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