For the first time, North Korea has lashed out at China. The neighboring country is North Korea’s most important ally and benefactor. China accounts for 90 percent of North Korea’s external trade and almost all of North Korea’s oil imports, according to the New York Times.
A passionate commentary attributed to a person by the name of Kim Chol, who used the abbreviation for the North’s official name, DPRK (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), spoke of China’s “reckless remarks” on the North’s nuclear program. North Korea state media said China is testing North Korea’s patience, which could trigger “grave” consequences, according to CBS News.
“China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.”
The reclusive state also said that U.S. President Donald Trump has a lack of understanding of North Korea.
“One must clearly understand that the DPRK’s line of access to nukes for the existence and development of the country can neither be changed nor shaken… and that the DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is.”
The state media called the Trump’s administration a “mere beginner insofar as its ignorance of its rival was concerned.” The comments also warned that “crimes such as regime change in anti-imperialist countries” would not influence North Korea in the slightest.
The disparaging comments about President Trump appeared first in Minju Choson, the primary newspaper of North Korea’s cabinet. It was then republished on the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) website, according to the Washington Post.
The article also said for the people of North Korea, it is their mission to wipe out anyone who compromises the dignity of Kim Jong-un.
“It is their steadfast will to wipe out anyone mulling hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership wherever he or she may be on earth.”
— NoCoastPunk (@No_Coast_Punk) April 10, 2017
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency specifically critiqued the People’s Daily and the Global Times. The publications, based in China, came during a time that Trump is putting the pressure on China to increase U.N. sanctions against its neighbor’s nuclear programs. The Global Times slammed the Rodong Sinmun in a rebuttal Thursday.
“The editorial is nothing more than a hyper-aggressive piece completely filled with nationalistic passion… Pyongyang is obviously grappling with some form of irrational logic over its nuclear program.”
Tensions between the two communist nations have mounted since Kim Jong-un continues to defy the international community and advance its country’s weapons programs.
According to the New York Times, the commentary accused the Chinese news media of carrying “lame excuses for the base acts of dancing to the tune of the U.S.” and “calling for slapping harsher sanctions against the D.P.R.K. in order to avert a war which would bring danger to China.”
— The Independent (@Independent) May 4, 2017
North Korea-China Alliance
The Trump administration has cited China’s trade relationship with North Korea is a major lever to get North Korea to cease developing a nuclear missile capable of striking the United States. On April 28, 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the U.N. Security Council that China accounts for 90 percent of North Korean trade.
“We must all do our share, but China accounting for 90 percent of North Korean trade, China alone has economic leverage over Pyongyang that is unique, and its role is therefore particularly important. The U.S. and China have held very productive exchanges on this issue, and we look forward to further actions that build on what China has already done.”
On Thursday, Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Beijing’s position on “developing good-neighborly and friendly cooperation with North Korea is also consistent and clear.”
An analyst at a South Korean think tank told the New York Times that it had been a tradition between North Korea and China that if they became involved in any conflict or grudges, they would not voice them in public.
“It has been a long-established tradition between North Korea and China that even if they held grudges against each other, they didn’t voice them in public… This shows that the current North Korea-China relations are bad enough for both sides to break that tradition.”
Tension on the Korean peninsula has been high for several weeks, leaving many to wonder if North Korea might conduct its sixth nuclear test, which would be in defiance of current U.N. Security Council resolutions.
This week, the United States has sent a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Korean waters and a pair of strategic U.S. bombers flew training drills with South Korea and Japan. On Tuesday, North Korea state media responded.
“The reckless military provocation is pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula closer to the brink of nuclear war.”
Beijing has taken a few steps to place pressure on Pyongyang economically. In February, 2017, China temporarily suspended coal imports from North Korea. This could improve the effectiveness of existing U.N. sanctions against North Korea. Beijing had previously banned coal imports from North Korea in April, 2016, but had allowed exceptions for “people’s well-being.” According to Reuters, since the new ban, some vessels carrying coal have reportedly been turned away at Chinese ports.
[Featured Image by Wong Maye-E/AP Images]