Obama tells Hu not to be ‘blind’ about Cheonan

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Obama tells Hu not to be ‘blind’ about Cheonan

TORONTO, Canada - U.S. President Barack Obama slammed China’s “willful blindness” to North Korea’s role in sinking the South Korean Navy warship Cheonan and killing 46 sailors at a news conference Sunday.

Following the Group of 20 Summit here, Obama held a press conference and discussed a wide range of issues, including China’s blind eye to the cause of the Cheonan’s sinking. On the sidelines of the economic conference, Obama had a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday.

“I had the conversation with President Hu,” Obama said, referring to the Cheonan incident. “I was very blunt. This is not an issue where you’ve got two parties of moral equivalence who are having an argument. This is a situation in which you have a belligerent nation that engaged in provocative and deadly acts against the other, and I think it is very important that we’re clear about that.”

The U.S. president said he understands China’s security interests since it shares a border with North Korea. “But I think there’s a difference between restraint and willful blindness to consistent problems, and my hope is that President Hu will recognize as well that this is an example of Pyongyang going over the line in ways that just have to be spoken about, seriously,” Obama said.

After the Cheonan sank in March, a joint civilian and military investigation team made up of international experts concluded that a North Korean torpedo sunk the ship. While the international community largely condemned Pyongyang, China has remained on the fence.

Obama also said Washington will not be able to have serious negotiations with Pyongyang about its nuclear arms program until China joins the international community in holding the North accountable for its attack.

South Korea already referred the North’s attack to the UN Security Council, but China, a veto-wielding power, has been reluctant to punish its communist ally.

Obama said he wants a “crystal clear acknowledgement” in the Security Council about North Korea’s belligerent behavior.

President Lee Myung-bak also met with Chinese President Hu here Sunday.

According to the Blue House, the two leaders also discussed the Cheonan’s sinking, and Lee urged Hu to support South Korea’s efforts to stop the North’s repeated provocations.

“I fully understand South Korea’s position and let’s continue close consultation in the United Nations Security Council,” Hu was quoted as saying by the Blue House.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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`자제력 발휘와 `의도적 눈감기`는 달라`, `안보리, 北천안함 공격 인정해야`


버락 오바마 미국 대통령은 27일(이하 현지시각) "자제력을 발휘하는 것과 계속되는 문제들을 의도적으로 눈감는 것은 다르다"며 천안함 사태에 북한이 관여했다는 조사 결과를 수용할 것을 중국에 촉구했다.

오바마 대통령은 이날 캐나다 토론토에서 폐막한 G-20 정상회의 기자회견에서 중국이 이웃이자 동맹국인 북한에 대해 자제력을 발휘하려 하는 점을 이해한다면서 이같이 말했다.

그는 지난 26일 회담한 후진타오(胡錦濤) 중국 국가주석에게 천안함 사태에 대해 "매우 직설적(very blunt)"으로 말했다고 소개한 뒤 "이번 일(천안함 사태)이 북한이 선을 넘은 사례라는 점을 후주석이 인정하길 희망한다"고 강조했다.

그는 또 "이것은 도덕적 등가성을 가진 양쪽이 논쟁하고 있는 상황이 아니라 한 나라가 다른 나라에 대한 도발적이고 치명적인 행위에 관여한 상황"이라며 "나는 우리가 그 점을 분명히 하는 것이 매우 중요하다고 생각한다"고 말했다.

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