Oz asks China to intervene to calm tensions in Korean region
Australia on Wednesday asked China to to move in to calm down heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula as it said it is monitoring closely the events in the region after Tuesday's artillery fire by North Korea.world Updated: Nov 24, 2010 11:32 IST
Australia on Wednesday asked China to to move in to calm down heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula as it said it is monitoring closely the events in the region after Tuesday's artillery fire by North Korea.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said after attending a high level security meet that the government is in touch with its allies in the region.
The government's national security committee met this morning to discuss tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a report said.
"The government is monitoring events in North Korea closely," Gillard said from Canberra.
Australia had spoken with close allies in the region, including Japan and the United States, she said.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd meanwhile urged China to intervene in the matter and use its influence with North Korea to calm down the tensions.
Rudd said that the North did not always follow Chinese requests but he was hopeful Beijing could calm the situation.
He also spoke overnight to the United States' Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, Kurt M Campbell, and South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan.
"This is still a tense situation," Rudd was quoted as saying.
While praising Seoul's response as considered and calm while describing the actions of the North as "outrageously provocative", Rudd said "I believe it's important now for China to bring all of its influence to bear on North Korea".
Gillard also said that China needed to speak to Pyongyang and exert pressure on it, as she called on North Korea to abide by "international norms of behaviour".
Earlier, federal Labor MP Andrew Leigh said the latest incident worried him greatly.
"I think the challenge here is... to call on the North Koreans to behave more reasonably... China has a very important role to play," he said.
The incident has raised concern Down Under with Labor MP Kelvin Thompson, who chairs parliament's treaties committee, asking Beijing to increase its efforts.
"I think there's an important role for the Chinese government in putting pressure on North Korea," he said.