N. Korea Criticizes China over Sanctions and Pressure
In an unusual move, North Korea’s state-run news outlets directly criticized China for allegedly disregarding the two countries’ long-standing friendship by sanctioning and pressuring Pyongyang.
The North’s Korea Central News Agency(KCNA) claimed in an editorial on Wednesday that it is not the North who crossed the red line in bilateral relations but that China has recklessly trampled upon and crossed that line.
The KCNA denounced China for dancing to the tune of the U.S. and blaming the North for worsening relations between the two nations, noting harsh criticism against the Pyongyang regime by the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper the People's Daily and its sister paper the Global Times.
The agency made it clear that Pyongyang will never give up its nuclear program in return for maintaining relations with China, saying the nuclear program is “as precious as” its own life, no matter how valuable the North-China friendship is.
It called Beijing’s sanctions a “senseless act that axes the pillar of bilateral relations.”
In response, an official of Seoul’s Unification Ministry noted it is very rare for Pyongyang to criticize China by name, but added the North apparently chose a less aggressive way to do so by attributing the editorial to an individual named Kim Chol.
The official said the North appeared to be enraged by China echoing the message by the U.S. and its allies that it should refrain from nuclear or missile provocations.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry argued that the North Korean state media's strong criticism of China is proof that sanctions and pressure applied on the North via China are having their effect.
In a regular briefing Thursday, ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck also said that Seoul hopes China will play a constructive role in pressuring Pyongyang.
Beijing's Foreign Ministry also took an unusual action of directly responding to the Pyongyang’s criticism. In a regular media briefing on Thursday, Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that China has done nothing wrong with regard to North Korea, and has handled related matters objectively and fairly.
In response to the North’s allegation that Beijing had "crossed the red line,” the Chinese spokesman said China's positions have remained consistent and clear toward the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the advancement of friendly ties with North Korea.