By Kim Young-gyo
HONG KONG, June 21 (Yonhap) -- The United States has been in close consultations with China on how to deal with North Korea accused by Seoul of sinking one of its warships in March, the top U.S. envoy in China said Monday.
"We've had many conversations with China about North Korea," U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr. said in a speech at a dinner meeting with Hong Kong business leaders.
The remarks by Huntsman come amid rising tensions over the sinking of the 1,200-ton South Korean navy ship, the Cheonan, near the Yellow Sea border on March 26 that killed 46 sailors.
South Korea. backed by material evidence, has officially held North Korea responsible for the attack and asked to the U.N. Security Council. to punish the communist country. North Korea has denied any involvement and is now threatening war if punished.
"We've talked about the importance of supporting what South Korea is desirous of doing, which is taking the matter to the U.N. security council," the ambassador said.
"It's been deliberated on the Security Council of the United Nations. We think people of South Korea have legitimate grievance that needs to be properly addressed. We'll see what comes out of the Security Council in the days and weeks ahead."
South Korea's foreign ministry said earlier Monday the Security Council will continue consultations among its members this week on how to handle the case.
Huntsman said the U.S. and China have been building trust with each other on many issues, including North Korea.
"I suspect that when the history books are written, the work that has been done in the U.N. Security Council on North Korea could very well be a good example of good, strong U.S.-China cooperation."
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