China again calls for restraint, calm over ROK warship sinking

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China on Thursday called for calm and restraint so as to avoid further escalation of tension over the sinking of a Republic of Korea (ROK) warship.

"China has always been firmly committed to safeguarding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and has consistently held this position," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regular news briefing.

"We also hope that the parties concerned understand (China's stance) and work with China to properly deal with the Cheonan incident," said Qin.

"Under the current circumstances, calm is particularly needed and restraint to avoid a further escalation of tension and jointly safeguard the hard-won peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," Qin said.

On March 26, ROK's 1,200-ton Navy frigate "Cheonan," with 104 crew members onboard, went down off the ROK island of Baekryeong off the west coast due to an unexplained explosion. Forty-six sailors were killed.

Seoul said after completing an investigation that the warship was torpedoed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). But Pyongyang has denied its involvement in the incident.

The ROK formally referred the case to the United Nations Security Council ( UNSC), said ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Friday.

Qin said ROK Vice Foreign Minister Chun Yung-woo had visited China and briefed Chinese officials on ROK's decision to refer the case to the UNSC.

"China stresses that the parties concerned should take into account the overall situation of safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, stay calm and restrained and cautiously and properly treat with the involvement of the UNSC in particular," said Qin.

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