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China To Work With South To Ease 'Worrisome' Korea Standoff

November 28, 2010

China, the main ally of communist North Korea, says it has agreed with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to work together to ease the serious confrontation between the North and South.

China's official Xinhua news agency reports the agreement came at a meeting in Seoul today between Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, and President Lee.

Xinhua said two men saw the present high tensions on the Korean Peninsula as "worrisome", and they agreed they should make joint efforts to "engage in serious contacts and dialogue."

The talks between the two were "in-depth and frank", said the report.

The North-South confrontation erupted after North Korea shelled a South Korean island this week, killing two soldiers and two civilians.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang has issued a warning of "unpredictable consequences" from the joint naval exercises by the U.S. and South Korean militaries that began in the Yellow Sea today.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier "USS George Washington" and its battle group are joined by a flotilla of South Korean destroyers and other warships for the exercises.

The exercises are due to be held in international waters off the Korean Peninsula, but Pyongyang, which has kept the region on edge for years with its nuclear and long-range missile tests, has warned of "unpredictable consequences."

Meanwhile, Washington insists that the drill is "defensive in nature" and was planned long in advance.

Meanwhile, agencies reported that residents of South Korea's Pyongyang Island have been ordered to evacuate to shelters and safe areas on the island, but that after 40 minutes the order was withdrawn.

China Visit

In other news, the chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly will visit China beginning on November 30.

China's official Xinhua news agency said today that Choe Tae Bok, the head of North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament, will visit China until December 4.

He will be the most senior visitor from Pyongyang since the confrontation erupted after North Korea shelled a South Korean island this week.

compiled from agency reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/us_korea_exercises/2232666.html

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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