China calls for urgent Korea talks

China, North Korea's ally and neighbour, has called for an emergency meeting in Beijing to calm tensions as U.S. forces and South Korea hold military exercises.

Meeting sought as U.S., South Korea conduct military exercises

A C-130 Hercules leads a formation of F/A-18C Hornets and A/V-8B Harriers over the aircraft carrier USS George Washington last July in the seas east of the Korean peninsula. ((Charles Oki/U.S Navy/Associated Press))
China, North Korea's ally and neighbour to the north, has called for an emergency meeting in Beijing next month to calm tensions between the two Koreas as U.S. forces and South Korea hold joint military exercises.

Chinese envoy Wu Dawei said Sunday that chief negotiators in six-country talks are being asked to come to Beijing in early December for the emergency session "to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present."

A South Korean Foreign Ministry statement said the Chinese proposal for talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia would be "reviewed very carefully."

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and a South Korean destroyer took up positions in the Yellow Sea on Sunday for military exercises that were a united show of force just days after a deadly North Korean artillery attack.

North Korea's state-run KRT television station carried a statement from the National Peace Committee of Korea saying the "aggression" of U.S.-South Korean forces was putting the Korean peninsula in a "state of ultra-emergency."

Confrontation erupted last week after North Korea shelled the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong, near their flashpoint maritime border, killing two civilians and two South Korean marines. The attack was one of the worst assaults on South Korean territory since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea's marine commander promised Saturday to exact revenge on North Korea. Lt.-Gen. Yoo Nak Joon spoke of "a thousand-fold revenge" and said South Koreans "will put our feelings of rage and animosity in our bones."

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With files from The Associated Press