President Barack Obama on Monday urged Chinese President Hu Jintao to join the United States in denouncing North Korea's latest deadly military skirmish with South Korea and the North's pursuit of nuclear development. it marked the first time the leaders have spoken since a November 22 incident left four South Korean soldiers dead.
He urged China to work with us and others to send a clear message to North Korea that its provocations are unacceptable, the White House said after the two leaders discussed North Korean tensions in a phone call.
Hu said the development of the situation further proved the importance and urgency of restarting the six-party talks, state media agency Xinhua reported. Hu noted China has also proposed emergency consultations among the heads of the delegations of the talks, which include China, North Korea, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
The call comes amid a flurry of military and diplomatic activity regarding the North. On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and Japanese counterpart Seiji Maehara. In addition, the U.S. and Japan are continuing to stage large-scale joint military drills over the Sea of Japan this week. Similarly big joint exercises with South Korea in the Yellow Sea concluded last week.
Hu told Obama he is greatly concerned about the current tension on the Peninsula, according to the report. He warned that if the tension is not properly handled, it could lead to further escalation of tension, or even run out of control, which is not in the common interest of all parties concerned.
Hu said dialogues and negotiations are the only right way to resolve the issues.
During the call, Obama also condemned the North's pursuit of a uranium enrichment program in defiance of its obligations, the White House said. The presidents discussed our common interest in peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the priority of ensuring the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while moving forward on those goals.
On Sunday, North Korea's state news agency warned the U.S. and South Korea to stop acting rashly, and ponder the consequences to be entailed by their reckless military provocation.
Tensions between the North and South have been high since a November 22 shelling by North Korea of a South Korean island near the countries' maritime border which killed four South Koreans, including two civilians.
In a previous incident in May, an international investigation determined that North Korea fired a torpedo which sank the South Korean Korea Navy ship Cheonan in which 46 sailors were killed.