Tensions between China and its long-time ally North Korea are spilling into public with the recent apparent kidnapping of 29 Chinese fishermen who were in waters between the two countries and have since been brought to North Korean waters. From BBC:
The captors have asked for payment by Thursday for the release of the men and boats, the newspaper reported.
China’s foreign ministry said it was in touch with North Korean authorities and hoped to resolve the situation soon.
“We urged the North Korean side to guarantee the legal rights of the Chinese fishermen,” the ministry’s spokesman Hong Lei said.
[…] It is not clear if the boats were seized by North Korean authorities or kidnappers as some reports have suggested.
In recent meetings with Japan and South Korea, Chinese officials to pledge to work together with those countries to prevent provocation by North Korea on the nuclear issue. Recently, China has become more outspoken in opposing North Korea’s plans for a third nuclear test. From Reuters:
If North Korea goes ahead with the test, China would consider taking some retaliatory steps, but they would not be substantive, a source with ties to Pyongyang and Beijing told Reuters.
North Korea has almost completed preparations for the test, Reuters reported in late April, a step that would further isolate the impoverished state after last month’s failed rocket launch that the United States says was a ballistic missile test.
“China is unhappy … and urged North Korea not to conduct a nuclear test near Changbai Mountain,” said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
China feared a radiation leak and damage to the environment from a blast, the source added.
Read more about China’s relations with North Korea via CDT.