China says ‘oth­ers’ shirk­ing North Korea duty

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BEIJING — China shouldn’t be held solely re­spon­si­ble for solv­ing the North Korean nu­clear stand­off, the coun­try’s For­eign Min­istry said Tues­day, ac­cus­ing oth­ers of shirk­ing their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in the ef­fort to re­duce ten­sions.

The com­plaints fol­low a phone con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ear­lier this month in which the Chi­nese leader warned of “some neg­a­tive fac­tors” that were harm­ing China-U.S. re­la­tions, in­di­cat­ing that ties be­tween the two coun­tries had hit a rough patch af­ter some ini­tial op­ti­mism.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang told re­porters Tues­day that China was up­hold­ing its obli­ga­tions un­der United Na­tions res­o­lu­tions on North Korea, while other coun­tries were fan­ning the cri­sis and dam­ag­ing China’s in­ter­ests with their ac­tions.

“China is not to be blamed for the cur­rent es­ca­la­tion of ten­sion, nor does China hold the key to re­solve the is­sue,” Geng said at a daily news brief­ing.

“If China is striv­ing to put out the fire, while the oth­ers are fu­el­ing the flame … how can China’s ef­forts achieve ex­pected out­comes? How can the ten­sion be eased? How can the Korean Penin­sula nu­clear is­sue be re­solved?” Geng said.

Say­ing some uniden­ti­fied par­ties were cir­cu­lat­ing the “China re­spon­si­bil­ity the­ory,” Geng said they were op­er­at­ing with “ul­te­rior mo­ti­va­tions” and sought to shrug off their own re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“Ab­solv­ing one­self of re­spon­si­bil­ity is not OK. Tear­ing down bridges af­ter cross­ing the river is not OK. Stab­bing in the back is even less OK,” Geng said.

China is North Korea’s only ma­jor diplo­matic ally and eco­nomic part­ner, and the U.S. and oth­ers have called on Beijing to use what­ever lever­age it has to pres­sure North Korea into curb­ing nu­clear tests and mis­sile launches that vi­o­late U.N. sanc­tions.

How­ever, China says per­cep­tions of its in­flu­ence with North Korea are ex­ag­ger­ated. It also re­fuses to take mea­sures that might desta­bi­lize North Korea’s hard-line com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment and lead to vi­o­lence, flows of refugees into China, and the pos­si­bil­ity of a united Korea al­lied with the United States.

Beijing com­plained af­ter one of its banks was re­cently cut off from the U.S. fi­nan­cial sys­tem for re­port­edly help­ing North Korea laun­der money, say­ing other coun­tries’ laws shouldn’t ex­tend to Chi­nese en­ti­ties.

It also op­poses South Korea’s de­ploy­ment of a so­phis­ti­cated U.S. mis­sile-de­fense sys­tem that Beijing says jeop­ar­dizes Chi­nese se­cu­rity be­cause of an abil­ity to mon­i­tor mis­sile launches and other mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties in north­east­ern China.

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