- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 28, 2010

Senate leaders on Sunday backed U.S. military exercises with South Korea in the Yellow Sea, following the deadly attack last week by North Korea, and urged China to take a bigger peacekeeping role.

“You don’t flinch,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday” about the U.S. response.

Mr. Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was joined by Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, in chastising North Korea for the deadly artillery attack Tuesday.

Ms. McCaskill called the attacks “brazen and belligerent.” However, she was more optimistic than Mr. Graham and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, about whether China can fulfill its role as a superpower capable of resolving world conflicts. She said the United States should not give up on China and praised the country for calling for so-called “six-party peace talks.”

Mr. McCain said China’s help is the key to resolving the long-standing conflict between the Koreas, but the country is “not behaving like a world power.”

China is not what we want it to be,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He called the talks a “first step” but suggested China use stronger economic measures against ally North Korea.

Mr. McCain also said it’s time to “talk about regime change in North Korea.”

He said such a change does not mean military action, but the North Korean regime “is not one that’s going to abandon nuclear-power status.”

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