China Says Little as Inter-Korean Tensions Escalate
The crisis escalated Thursday, when Pyongyang announced that it was scrapping a pact to prevent accidental attacks on the two countries’ disputed western sea border. The North Korean military threatened to launch an immediate “physical strike” on any South Korean ships in its waters. South Korea, meanwhile, staged large anti-submarine drills.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu, however, offered only boilerplate rhetoric in response: “Proper handling of the issue is conducive to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.”
It was in keeping with the Chinese government’s refusal to take a stand since the crisis erupted in March with the mysterious attack that sank the South Korean warship Cheonan and killed 46 sailors.
When South Korea released a report last week, authored with the help of Western experts, that found conclusively that North Korea had torpedoed the Cheonan, China, the only nation with any influence on North Korea, said hardly a word.
The New York Times also wrote an editorial about the dispute, “While China Stands By.”