U.S. backs gov’t stand; no response from China

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U.S. backs gov’t stand; no response from China

The United States once again expressed strong support for South Korea’s post-Cheonan diplomacy.

The White House yesterday issued a statement saying Seoul’s responses “are called for and entirely appropriate.”

“The Republic of Korea can continue to count on the full support of the United States, as President [Barack] Obama has made clear,” the statement read. “U.S. support for South Korea’s defense is unequivocal, and the president has directed his military commanders to coordinate closely with their Republic of Korea counterparts to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression.”

China, considered a key player in the post-Cheonan period, didn’t have an immediate official comment, although state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on President Lee Myung-bak’s national address.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier Monday said Washington and Beijing must cooperate on dealing with North Korea after the Cheonan.

“North Korea is also a matter of urgent concern. Today we face another serious challenge provoked by the sinking of the South Korean ship,” Clinton said at the start of two days of high-level talks with China. She is scheduled to arrive in Seoul tomorrow. “So we must work together to address this challenge and advance our shared objective of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

South Korea will have more opportunity this week to secure China’s support at the UN Security Council, where unanimity by the five permanent members - China, the United States, Britain, France and Russia - is required for a binding resolution.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is coming to Seoul this Friday to meet with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, ahead of a tripartite meeting that also involves Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Saturday. Wu Dawei, China’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, arrives in Seoul today.

By Yoo Jee-ho [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]
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