Chinese government to make ‘urgent’ announcement
The Chinese government said Sunday it will make an “urgent” announcement later in the day amid rising military tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula.
China’s foreign ministry said it will hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m. for both domestic and foreign reporters based in Beijing, adding that it will not accept any questions during the conference.
The ministry didn’t provide details about the announcement, but it is expected to cover developments surrounding North Korea’s recent attack on South Korea.
North Korea on Tuesday fired a barrage of artillery rounds toward Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea border, killing two South Korean marines and as many civilians and leaving 18 others wounded.
The attack drew international condemnation and angered South Koreans, who came under the communist neighbor’s first attack targeting civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War.
Defying North Korea’s threats, South Korea and the United States launched large-scale naval drills off the Korean Peninsula’s west coast Sunday with the aircraft carrier USS George Washington participating, in a potent show of force against the North.
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, who advises top Chinese officials on foreign policies, traveled to Seoul Saturday with Beijing’s chief nuclear negotiator Wu Dawei. On Sunday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Dai discussed measures to ease tensions on the peninsula.
China has expressed concerns on the South Korean-U.S. joint military exercise, saying it will further escalate the tensions.
China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported earlier on Sunday that Choe Thae-bok, secretary of the North’s Central Committee of the Workers’ Party and chairman of the regime’s parliament Supreme People’s Assembly, will make a five-day visit to China starting on Tuesday, in response to an invitation from Wu Bangguo, China’s top legislator and second-ranking official. (Yonhap News)