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China wades into Korean peninsula tensions

President Xi speaks out over standoff as US delays intercontinental missile launch amid tension with North Korea.

Last Modified: 08 Apr 2013 01:12
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China has added its voice to the growing tensions in the Korean peninsula, saying no country should cause global chaos after the US postponed a missile test to ease war fears.

Xi Jinping, the president of China, North Korea's financial and diplomatic backer, issued the veiled rebuke of its ally on Sunday after repeated threats from the North of a nuclear strike against the United States and South Korea and joint military training exercises between Pyongyang's two enemies.

"No one should be allowed to throw a region, or even the whole world, into chaos for selfish gains," Xi told a forum on the southern island of Hainan, without naming any specific country.

Xi's comments came a day after North Korean authorities told diplomatic missions they could not guarantee their safety from next Wednesday, declaring that conflict was inevitable amid joint US-South Korean military exercises.

The drills are due to last until the end of the month.

For its part, South Korea said it was anticipating any manner of action that the North's unpredictable leaders might make, including a possible missile launch, by Wednesday, after when the North said it could not guarantee diplomats' safety.

Analysts are also looking anxiously to Monday, April 15, the birthday of King Il-sung, North Korea's founder and the grandfather of its present leader, Kim Jong-un.

Meanwhile, the United States has decided to delay a long-planned missile test scheduled for next week out of California "to avoid any misperception or miscalculation", given tensions with North Korea, a senior US defence official has said.

The long-scheduled test of the Minuteman III intercontinental missile was due to take place at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"This is the logical, prudent and responsible course of action to take," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, echoed his leader's frustrations in a written statement issued on a government website late on Saturday in regards to a telephone conversation with Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

"We oppose provocative words and actions from any party in the region and do not allow trouble making on China's doorstep," Wang said.

Rising tension

The ministry expressed "grave concern" on Sunday at rising tension and said China had asked North Korea to ensure the safety of Chinese diplomats in North Korea "in accordance with the Vienna Convention and international laws and norms".

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, addressing the Hainan forum, said avoiding conflict on the peninsula was vital.

"There, any aggression is a threat to the interests of every country in the region," she said.

William Hague, Britain's foreign minister, said North Korea's nuclear ambitions had to be taken seriously.

"We have to be concerned about the danger of miscalculation by the North Korean regime, which has worked itself up into this frenetic state of rhetoric in recent weeks, and the danger that they would believe their own paranoid rhetoric," he told the BBC.

"But it is important that the international response to this, including our response, must be clear and united and calm."

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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