In its strongest statement to date, China has issued veiled rebukes against its ally North Korea, in reference to the reclusive state’s threats of nuclear warfare on South Korea, the United States and its allies. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that no one should “throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain”.
Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman said that Xi’s statements, despite not mentioning North Korea directly, are extraordinary and is a sign that China has had it up to here with their antics of the past years, which includes conducting nuclear tests in direct violation of the United Nations Security Council’s warnings against such tests. China is North Korea’s only financial and diplomatic sponsor, but has shown “irritation” with their actions. The latest rounds of UN sanctions against Pyongyang were actually negotiated by China, as well as put in place with support from ally. The new sanctions include tightening the noose around financial institutions that support them, strict, mandatory inspection of cargo and a ban on luxury goods entering the country.
In a statement published on the ministry website last Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that they are against “provocative words and actions” from anyone in the region and strongly oppose any “troublemaking on China’s doorstep”. This was in response to a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. They have also expressed “grave concern” with the continuing tensions and has asked North Korea to ensure the protection of their diplomats on North Korean soil.
While most experts say it is nearly impossible that China will completely abandon North Korea, their growing frustration with them may indicate a decided shift in their relations. What’s more, China’s new leaders have no emotional ties with Pyongyang and Kim Jong-Un or his family, unlike their predecessors. Some US politicians, particularly Senator John McCain, believe that China should do more to “rein in what could be a catastrophic situation”. He believes China should exert more pressure on North Korea, using their influence over its economy.
Despite the almost daily threats issued by North Korea, Pyongyang has shown no sign or move to deploy either their 1.2 million-strong army or their nuclear weapons. Experts believe the threats are just intended to bolster Kim Jong-Un’s leadership domestically.
[ via Reuters ]