China paper blames US for N Korea nuclear crisis
BEIJING (AFP) – A Chinese state-run newspaper blamed Washington Monday for the North Korean nuclear crisis and another stressed Beijing’s limited scope for action, six days after tensions rose with a third atomic test.
The finger-pointing came as China’s foreign ministry restated its “firm opposition” to the blast but mentioned no reprisals – a mild reply compared to the condemnation and threats of tough sanctions by the US and other nations.
Beijing has propped up Pyongyang since the 1950-53 Korean War, for fear of instability that might bring refugees into its territory, a US-led military escalation in the region or even a unified Korea with a US military presence next door.
This picture taken on February 16 shows Kim Jong-Un (4th R) posing before the statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il at Mangyongdae Revolutionary School in Pyongyang. AFP
While Washington has pressed Beijing to use its trade and aid leverage over its dependent neighbour, some in China claim the US in fact holds greater sway as it can offer North Korea its most-sought-after prize of a security guarantee.
“The United States should take the major share of blame for rising tensions on the peninsula,” the China Daily said, citing a researcher from the state-affiliated Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“The US did not respect the security concerns of (North Korea) and that is the reason why the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula has not been solved,” it said, paraphrasing an expert from the respected Tsinghua University.
Citing the same expert, the China Daily – which put its story on the front page under the headline “US ‘must act to ease peninsula tension’” – accused Washington of using North Korea’s nuclear pursuits as an excuse to build its regional military presence.