China offered no indication on Thursday of plans to join the US and its allies in blaming North Korea in the sinking of a South Korean warship, saying the issue remained "extremely complicated."
US officials said on Wednesday that China, a key North Korean ally, had indicated it is prepared to hold Pyongyang accountable for the torpedo attack and could join in some kind of formal rebuke by the UN Security Council.
However, when asked about the investigation into the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu merely repeated an earlier Chinese statement that fell short of assigning blame.
"The issue is highly complicated. China does not have firsthand information. We are looking at the information from all sides in a prudent manner," Ma told reporters.
"China' position on the ship remains unchanged,'" he added.
The sinking of the corvette Cheonan has put Beijing in an uncomfortable position, forcing it to choose between traditional communist ally North Korea and close trading partner South Korea.