While the ongoing North Korean crisis has yet to break out into nuclear apocalypse, it has ignited a vicious war of words between Chinese and North Korean state media outlets.
With Chinese state-run media calling for harsher sanctions against its nuclear-obsessed neighbor if the Kim Jong-un regime continues to carry out atomic tests, the official Korean Central News Agency has fired back with a strongly-worded editorial stating that rather testing Pyongyang’s patience, China should be thanking North Korea for providing “protection.”
Published on Wednesday, the unusual attack against the DPRK’s only ally denounced all the “reckless remarks” made by Chinese media, accusing them of worsening tensions and undermining relations. The commentary urges China to ponder over “the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations” and promises that the country’s determination “can never be changed nor shaken.”
“The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear programme which is as precious as its own life,” the commentary reads.
It also goes on to explain how North Korea has “contributed to protecting peace and security of China” by acting as a buffer state between it and the United States, adding that Beijing should “thank the DPRK for it.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese government continues to call for calm in the region. On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang urged all sides to “stop irritating each other” and to settle the sensitive matter through “dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible.” Over the last week, the United States has been pushing Beijing to apply increased pressure on Pyongyang or risk catastrophe.
In February, due to Pyongyang’s continued missile tests, China banned coal imports from North Korea for the rest of the year, cutting off a significant portion of the Hermit Kingdom’s foreign income. In response, North Korean state media accused China of “dancing to the US tune.”
China appears to be serious about enforcing the ban, ordering Chinese trading companies to return millions of tonnes of coal back to its tiny neighbor last month. However, in total, China’s trade with North Korea has actually increased this year.
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