Peninsula peace

0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Daily, December 8, 2010
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The fragile security situation on the Korean Peninsula is heading toward a breaking point. It is high time that the relevant parties weighed the pros and cons of further escalating the tension.

Despite Pyongyang's warnings, the Republic of Korea (ROK) launched a live-fire naval exercise on Monday, including locations in disputed waters off the west coast of the divided peninsula. This has further intensified the hostility between the ROK and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The latest tension flared up after the deadly exchange of fire between the DPRK and the ROK on Nov 23. After that, the United States and the ROK launched a four-day joint naval exercise in waters west of the Peninsula.

Such a massive show of force, followed by the biggest-ever US-Japan naval exercise that began on Dec 3, only increases tensions in the region and risks detonating the power keg at any time.

The situation may slip out of control, as the enmity between the two countries seems to have reached its highest degree in decades. All the countries concerned should judge the situation with a sober mind and consider whether conflict is what they really want.

To a certain extent, the Korean Peninsula is the only region in the world that is still under the shadow of Cold War thinking. This is against the trends of the world today, which increasingly opts for peace and development.

The Korean Peninsula should not be the place to play a zero-sum game, which is both irresponsible and immoral by putting the lives of tens of millions at risk.

Relevant parties should understand that confrontation is not the solution to the current standoff between the two Koreas. They should be fully aware of the possible consequences of any further escalation of tensions in Northeast Asia.

As a responsible big country in the region and a close neighbor to the two Koreas, China has been consistently calling for all parties to demonstrate calm and restraint. It has made active diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation by trying to bring the parties concerned back to the negotiating table.

In a telephone conversation with his US counterpart Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao warned that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could further escalate and run out of control, which would be in nobody's interest.

Hu's remarks show China's deep concern over the situation and the country's view of the ongoing crisis. If a war really breaks out, neither party would win, and each would pay a heavy price. China has been urging dialogue and negotiations within the framework of the Six-Party Talks, the only platform for discussing security issues in Northeast Asia that consists of China, the DPRK, the US, the ROK, Russia and Japan.

An early resumption of the Six-Party Talks is the only realistic solution to the ongoing crisis on the Korean Peninsula as it conforms to the fundamental interests of all parties.

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