By ANDREW JACOBS and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: June 29, 2010
BEIJING ¡ª Three days after President Obama emerged from a tense meeting with President Hu Jintao of China, and accused Beijing of ¡°willful blindness¡± toward North Korea¡¯s military provocations, the Chinese government on Tuesday continued the argument about how to handle its testy neighbor.
In a regularly scheduled news conference, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry dismissed American calls for a tough line against North Korea, most recently for the sinking of a South Korean naval ship.
The spokesman, Qin Gang, suggested that Mr. Obama had overreached when he accused Beijing of ¡°turning a blind eye¡± to what an international investigation concluded was a North Korean torpedo attack in March on the ship.
The sinking of the Cheonan, which killed 46 South Korean sailors, has intensified already strained relations between the North and the South and thrown into stark relief China¡¯s long-standing role as a patron of Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader.
Mr. Qin contended that China had even more reason than the United States to view the sinking with gravity. ¡°China is a neighbor of the Korean Peninsula, and on this issue our feelings differ from a country that lies 8,000 kilometers distant,¡± he said. ¡°We feel even more direct and serious concerns.¡±
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