Germany urges China to use influence on NKorea

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Germany's foreign minister voiced his concern Tuesday about tensions on the Korean peninsula in talks with his Chinese counterpart and urged Beijing to use its influence, his office said.

Guido Westerwelle of Germany spoke with Yang Jiechi by telephone about the crisis sparked by North Korea's deadly artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week.

"Westerwelle underlined his concern about the tense situation on the Korean peninsula and welcomed Chinese steps supporting de-escalation and moderation," the German foreign ministry said in a statement.

"He said China should continue to use its influence to avoid an escalation of the situation."

The statement said that Yang called on both sides to use restraint and agreed with Westerwelle "to coordinate closely to foster the chances for a constructive peaceful development" in the region.

Yang also congratulated Germany on winning a seat for two years from January on the United Nations Security Council, of which China is a permanent member.

China has come under growing international pressure to step in forcefully to restrain the unpredictable North Korean regime after last week's attack, which left four people dead.

Beijing has refused to take sides against its close ally.

Instead, on Sunday it proposed bringing together the envoys of the stalled six-nation talks on North Korean nuclear disarmament some time in the first 10 days of December for "emergency consultations" in Beijing.

But the United States, South Korea and Japan have responded coolly to the call.

© 2010 AFP

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