The China card – Times Online

From The Times Online:

The condemnation was unequivocal: “This is inadmissible and unacceptable. This is a clear provocation on the part of the North Korean authorities.” Pyongyang‘s firing of seven missiles, including the long-range Taepodong 2, was “a challenge to the world community” and “an inappropriate and excessive attempt to demonstrate military force”. The outspoken comment came not from Washington but from Moscow, once a close supporter of the isolated Stalinist regime. Russia, like other partners in the protracted six-power talks on ’s nuclear ambitions, was angry and alarmed by the test firings. Like Washington and Beijing, Moscow had repeatedly given warning against such a move. Their words carried no weight with a regime as paranoid as it is petulant and attention-seeking.

The most significant of the condemnations came from Beijing. China said that it was “seriously concerned” by the events, but called for calm from all sides. Given China’s longstanding links with North Korea, this diplomatic understatement conceals a far more explosive reaction. China has every right to be furious. Only last week, Wen Jiabao, the Prime Minister, warned Kim Jong Il not to go ahead with the long-threatened launch. A Chinese vice-premier is due in Pyongyang on Monday to celebrate the 45th anniversary of a bilateral friendship treaty. The openly provocative timing, on America’s Independence Day, is a deliberate snub by the North Koreans to China’s call for patient diplomacy within the six- power talks that it hosts. [Full Text]

See also: China’s gentle rebuke for difficult neighbour by Jane Macartney.

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