World News

China urges calm, talks between North and South Korea

Members of South Korean Coast Guard evacuate residents in Yeonpyeong Island November 24, 2010 after an artillery attack by North Korea. REUTERS/Korea Coast Guard/Handout

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday urged North and South Korea to show “calm and restraint” and engage in talks as quickly as possible to avoid an escalation of tensions after a deadly shelling incident that killed four South Koreans.

The statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was Beijing’s first detailed official response to the incident on Tuesday when North Korea shelled a South Korean island. Unlike other governments in the region, China did not single out North Korea for condemnation.

“China takes this incident very seriously, and expresses pain and regret at the loss of life and property, and we feel anxious about developments,” Hong said in a comment on the Ministry’s website (

“China strongly urges both North and South Korea exercise calm and restraint, and as quickly as possible engage in dialogue and contacts,” said Hong.

China “opposes any actions harmful to the peace and stability” of the Korean peninsula, he also said.

Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani