News

Voice of America
3/7/97
CHINA-KOREA
BYLINE=GIL BUTLER
DATELINE=BEIJING

INTRO: CHINA SAYS IT IS WATCHING THE START OF THE NEW PEACE DRIVE FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA BUT IT IS TOO EARLY TO PREDICT SUCCESS. FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN QICHEN WAS ASKED AT A BEIJING NEWS CONFERENCE ABOUT THE FACE TO FACE TALKS BETWEEN SOUTH AND NORTH KOREA WEDNESDAY IN NEW YORK. VOA'S GIL BUTLER HAS MORE FROM THE CHINESE CAPITAL.

TEXT: THE UNITED STATES PROPOSED FOUR PARTY TALKS ON KOREA INVOLVING NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA, THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA. ON WEDNESDAY, THREE OF THE PARTIES GATHERED AROUND A TABLE IN NEW YORK FOR PRELIMINARY DISCUSSIONS. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE BITTER RIVALS HAD SAT TOGETHER TO DISCUSS ENDING THE STATE OF WAR ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA.

CHINA WAS NOT AT THE NEW YORK MEETING, BUT IS EXPECTED TO TAKE PART IF FOUR PARTY NEGOTIATIONS REALLY BEGIN.

AT HIS NEWS CONFERENCE HELD EACH YEAR DURING THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS SESSION, FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN QICHEN SAID CHINA HAS MADE UNREMITTING EFFORTS TO MAINTAIN PEACE AND STABILITY ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA. HE CALLED THE NEW PEACE MECHANISM, "IMPORTANT".

// QIAN/ TRANSLATOR ACT //

(CHINESE) THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEW PEACE MECHANISM IS AN IMPORTANT SUBJECT BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY BUT UP TO NOW IT IS STILL HARD TO SAY WHETHER THIS QUESTION CAN BE RESOLVED IN THE FORESEEABLE, NEAR FUTURE.

// END ACT //

LATER, THE CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY INFORMATION DEPARTMENT WAS ASKED TO CLARIFY SPECIFICALLY WHETHER CHINA PLANS TO JOIN THE FOUR PARTY TALKS ON KOREA. A SPOKESMAN SAID ONLY THAT CHINA IS WATCHING THE PROGRESS OF THE EXPLANATORY MEETING AND WILL GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT IT.

OF MORE IMMEDIATE CONCERN HERE IS A CONTINUING SOURCE OF KOREAN PENINSULA FRICTION RIGHT IN THE CENTER OF BEIJING. HIGH RANKING NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR HWANG JANG YOP IS STILL INSIDE THE SOUTH KOREAN CONSULATE WITH NO SOLUTION READILY APPARENT.

CHINA SAYS IT IS STILL INVESTIGATING THE CASE AND WILL FOLLOW THE LAW AND INTERNATIONAL PRACTICE IN SOLVING THE PROBLEM. FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN REPEATED CHINA'S CALL FOR BOTH NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA TO HAVE A COOL HEADED ATTITUDE SO AS TO WORK OUT A SOLUTION THAT AIDS THE CAUSE OF PEACE ON THE PENINSULA.

EVER SINCE THE DEFECTION OCCURRED MORE THAN THREE WEEKS AGO, CHINA HAS TAKEN PAINS TO SAY IT IS NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVED AND THAT A SOLUTION IS UP TO THE TWO KOREAS. THE DEFECTION PUT CHINA IN THE UNWELCOME POSITION OF BEING CAUGHT BETWEEN AN OLD ALLY, NORTH KOREA, AND A NEW AND POTENT ECONOMIC PARTNER, SOUTH KOREA.

(SIGNED)

NEB/MGB/FC/CF

07-Mar-97 4:24 AM EST (0924 UTC)
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