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China calls for Korean stability at South Korean trade talks


Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has called for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula as tension mounts over the sinking of a South Korean warship. Meanwhile, China, Japan and South Korea discuss becoming a single economic bloc.

China is facing increasing pressure from Seoul to censure North Korea for the sinking of the warship in March, which killed 46 people.

A multinational investigation has held North Korea responsible for the attack.

At a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on Friday, Wen said China would not protect whoever was to blame for the sinking of the ship. He added that he would decide on Beijing's position after reviewing the multinational investigation.

Beijing is the North's sole major ally and unlike many other countries, it has not blamed Pyongyang for the incident.

Seoul, with the backing of Japan and the US, want China's support to sanction the north in the United Nations Security Council.

Pyongyang has strongly denied the allegations.

The issue is likely to be discussed at a summit between China, Japan and South Korea, which opens today on the southern resort island of Jeju, where the three countries are discussing free trade.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak hosted the two-day summit, joined by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, to discuss regional security and economic issues.

The talks are aimed at eventually creating a single economic bloc. South Korea has been in separate free-trade talks with China and Japan for years, but with little progress.