China’s Hu Meets Officials of 2 Koreas Amid Crisis

President Hu Jintao met with leaders from both North and South Korea on the eve of the Shanghai Expo. From Bloomberg:

At the outset of his meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Shanghai on the sidelines of the World Expo, Hu expressed his condolences to the bereaved families of South Korean sailors killed when the Cheonan exploded and sank near the western sea border with North Korea.

“To those who died and to their families, please let them know we grieve with them,” Hu told Lee.

China has not sought a direct mediating role between the Koreas but it has influence as the North’s leading economic and diplomatic supporter. It also has extensive trade and diplomatic ties with the South.

Hu met earlier Friday with the North’s No. 2 official, Kim Yong Nam, at a state guesthouse, although journalists were ushered away after the men exchanged greetings.

The participation by North Korea in the Shanghai Expo — the isolated regime’s first world’s fair appearance — sparked speculation that top leader Kim Jong Il might attend, but there was no sign of such a visit.



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