China today expressed “grave concern” over North Korea’s test of a missile capable of hitting anywhere in the United States and asked its ally to stop actions that heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Beijing also asked North Korea to strictly abide by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on the use of the ballistic missile technology. North Korea “successfully” test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which is capable of hitting anywhere in the US. The missile, claimed to be the “most powerful” by North Korea, travelled about 1000 km before splashing down in the Sea of Japan within Japan’s economic exclusion zone. “China expresses grave concern and opposition to the relevant launching activities and strongly urges it to observe the relevant resolution of the UNSC and stop action that heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing while reacting to the launch of the ICBM by North Korea.
Geng said that North Korean leadership is well aware of Beijing’s position on Pyongyang continuing its nuclear programme. “The UN Security Council resolution have clear stipulations on the use of the ballistic missile technology by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, (DPRK) for launching activities,” he added. Reacting to President Donald Trump’s comments, over the missile test by Pyongyang, that the US “will take care of it” Geng said “at the same time we hope relevant parties act cautiously to work together for the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula region.”
The figures tallied with estimates released by Japan and South Korea, CNN reported.
Today’s test by North Korea is seen as a setback to China, specially to President Xi Jinping, as it came close on the heels of the visit of his special envoy, Song Tao, to Pyongyang. Though Song’s visit was stated to be to brief the North Korean leadership about the decisions of the last month’s National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), he also reportedly carried a special message from Xi. The visit by the special envoy came after the high- profile visit of Trump to Beijing, during which he pressed Xi to do more to curtail North Korea’s nuclear programme.
But much to the surprise of Beijing, North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-Un has not met Song. In an apparent retaliation, China, regarded as a close of ally of Pyongyang, has closed its key bridge which is a lifeline for North Korea’s essential supplies.
The bridge is yet to be reopened. Asked about the bridge, Geng said it was closed by North Korea for repairs and maintenance and not aware of its current status. Asked whether China would increase sanctions against North Korea, Geng said “China always strictly, fruitfully and earnestly implement the UNSC resolutions on North Korea and we fulfilled our international obligations. We will continue to uphold stability and peace of the Korean Peninsula and work for the settlement of Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue,” he said. About Song’s visit, Geng said it was aimed at briefing North Korea about the outcome of the CPC’s 19th Congress. “The DPRK is very clear about China’s position on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue,” he said.