Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 5 News List

More protection if tests halted: paper

PIPE DREAM:The state-backed ‘Global Times’ said the US’ military might and UN Security Council sanctions have made North Korea’s nuclear ambitions a ‘utopia’

Reuters, BEIJING

China would step up its protection of North Korea should the isolated state halt its nuclear program, an editorial in a state-backed newspaper said yesterday, as Beijing tries to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang’s continued nuclear and missile testing has prompted the US to send a carrier group to near the Korean Peninsula in a show of force aimed at deterring more tests.

North Korea tomorrow marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s biggest national day called “Day of the Sun.”

Leaders have in the past used the date to carry out weapons tests.

China, North Korea’s main ally, has called for a peaceful resolution of tensions in the region.

“As soon as North Korea complies with China’s declared advice and suspends nuclear activities ... China will actively work to protect the security of a denuclearized North Korean nation and regime,” said the editorial in the Global Times, which is published by Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily. “This is Pyongyang’s best option.”

North Korea has launched several missile tests this year, the latest on Wednesday last week, when it fired a ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast. It conducted its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9 last year.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday reiterated Beijing’s position of calming the situation via a “dual suspension” of North Korea’s nuclear tests and the US’ joint military drills with South Korea.

The main goal of North Korea’s nuclear program is to protect the country’s security and to place itself on an even footing with the US, the Global Times said in the editorial in its Chinese-language edition.

However, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are merely a “utopia,” given US military might and UN Security Council sanctions.

“North Korea is currently just about the world’s most isolated country, it is already totally blocked off,” the newspaper said. “A modern state cannot continue to exist like this.”

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