China’s foreign ministry on Monday urged the United States and North Korea to sit down with each other face-to-face and resolve their problems, as tension continues to climb on the Korean peninsula after North Korea’s latest rocket test.
While China was angered by the launch, it has also expressed concern at plans by Washington and Seoul to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system, saying it would impact upon China’s own security.
“The focus of the nuclear issue on the peninsula is between the United States and North Korea,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing. “We urge the United States and North Korea to sit down and have communications and negotiations, to explore ways to resolve each other’s reasonable concerns and finally reach the goal we all want reached.”
In an editorial on Monday, the official English-language China Daily called for new U.N. sanctions to “truly bite”.
“The threat of a nuclear-armed DPRK is more real than ever,” it said, using the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Hong repeated that North Korea would have to “pay a price” for its behavior.
N Korea plans more rocket launches
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has praised scientists involved in the country’s recent rocket launch that he said struck a “telling blow” to enemies and ordered them to press ahead with more launches, state media reported Monday.
Earlier this month, North Korea ignored repeated international warnings and launched what it said was an Earth observation satellite aboard a rocket. Washington, Seoul and other view the launch as a prohibited test of missile technology and are pushing hard to have Pyongyang slapped with strong sanctions.
The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the ruling Workers’ Party on Saturday gave a banquet in honor of scientists, officials and others who it said contributed to the Feb. 7 rocket launch. Kim and his top deputies were present.
In a speech, Kim said the launch gave confidence and courage to his people and dealt a “telling blow to the enemies seeking to block the advance of our country,” KCNA said, in an apparent reference to Seoul and Washington.
Kim said the North’s launch decision was made when “the hostile forces were getting evermore frantic to suffocate” North Korea, and called for launching more working satellites in the future.