North Korean state media warned Thursday Beijing was crossing a “red line” in its relationship with Pyongyang, in a rare criticism of its closest ally.
A commentary in the state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun vowed North Korea would not give up its nuclear program. It accused China of “dancing to the tune of the US” and providing Washington excuses to deploy more military assets to the Korean peninsula.
The commentary urged two Chinese state-run newspapers, the People’s Daily and Global Times, to refrain from making reckless remarks which risked undermining relations between the two countries.
It comes after increased criticism of North Korea in Chinese state media amid heightened tensions in the region.
Will never beg’
Rodong Sinmun specifically criticized the Chinese media’s call for more sanctions against North Korea as a way to avert war.
“We didn’t cross the ‘red line’ of the (North Korea)-China relationship,” the commentary said. “China is violently stomping on and crossing it without hesitation.”
It said the two Chinese publications asserted the North Korean nuclear weapons program was a threat to China.
“They even talked rubbish that (North Korea) strains the situation in northeast Asia and ‘offers the US excuses for deploying more strategic assets’ in the region,” said the commentary attributed to an author named Kim Chol.
The commentary said North Korea’s nuclear program exists to protect the country from invasion and Pyongyang would not scrap it to ease tensions.
“(North Korea) will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is a precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is,” it said.
Asked about the commentary Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said Beijing had been firm in its call for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula “to maintain the peace and stability of the region.”
Global Times, a state-sanctioned tabloid, slammed the Rodong Sinmun in a rebuttal Thursday.
“The editorial is nothing more than a hyper-aggressive piece completely filled with nationalistic passion,” it said. “Pyongyang is obviously grappling with some form of irrational logic over its nuclear program.”
But it did offer slight praise for Pyongyang for not yet conducting a sixth nuclear test and for being “comparatively restrained” in recent missile tests. The last of those was last week, when a North Korea test missile exploded over the North Korean territory, before it reached the ocean.
Meanwhile, the US has continued military drills that have infuriated North Korea.
The latest of those was Monday, when two US B-1 bombers from Guam conducted a joint drill with South Korea and Japan’s air forces over the Korean Peninsula, according to the US Air Force.
After that exercise, Pyongyang said the US actions were bringing the region “to a point close to nuclear war.”
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