China urges to defuse tensions over Cheonan sinking

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday called for the proper handling of the seroius consequences of the March sinking of a South Korean warship, and efforts to gradually ease tensions in the region over the incident.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attends the second phase of the third trilateral summit in South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju on May 30, 2010. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met in the trilateral summit with the aim of mapping out future cooperation in East Asia. [Xinhua]

"The pressing task for the moment is to properly handle the serious impact caused by the Cheonan incident, defuse tensions in the region, and most importantly of all, avoid possible conflicts," Wen said.

Wen was speaking at a joint press conference following a two-day summit meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on the South Korean resort island of Jeju.

Wen urged the Northeast Asian nations to help maintain regional peace and stability.

"We must spare no effort to promote peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Short of this precondition, development will be out of the question, and the hard-won achievements will be lost again," he stressed.

"China will continue to enhance communication with relevant parties (over the Cheonan incident) in order to steer the situation toward a direction which is conducive to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. This is in our best common and long-term interests," Wen said.

As the region is facing many new challenges, China, Japan and South Korea should strengthen coordination between them, appropriately deal with sensitive issues and increase mutual political trust, Wen said.

At the press conference, Wen also expressed his condolences to the victims of the Cheonan incident and sympathies to their relatives.

On March 26, the South Korean naval vessel, the Cheonan, with 104 crew members on board, sank off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, killing 46 sailors.

On May 20, the South Korean government released the results of a multinational investigation, which concluded that the Cheonan was torpedoed by a submarine of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The DPRK has vehemently rejected the charge and warned that any retaliation would lead to an "all-out" war.

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