Beijing: China expressed “serious concerns” on Wednesday over North Korea’s plans to launch a rocket later this month, ostensibly to put a satellite into orbit.
“We express serious concerns about that,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing. “We believe that the DPRK has the right to the peaceful use of space but at the moment its relevant right should be subject to the restrictions of the UN Security Council resolutions,” he added, using the North’s official name.
UN resolutions forbid the North from any use of ballistic missile technology, and Tuesday’s announcement saw Pyongyang doubling down against an international community already struggling to come up with a united response to last month’s nuclear test.
China is the North’s main diplomatic protector and provider of trade and aid, and while ties have become strained over Pyongyang’s insistence on pursuing its atomic weapons programme, Beijing has not announced any concrete moves to rein in its neighbour.
“We don’t want to see any escalation of tension, but if relevant countries insist on doing so, then we are not able to stop them,” Lu said. Asked whether the announcement was a slap in the face for Beijing, Lu pointed instead to Washington.
“In response to some countries’ outcry for pressure and sanctions, the DPRK conducted one nuclear test after another,” he said. “In this sense, the DPRK did slap some country across the face. As for whose face the DPRK did slap, I think the country itself knows well.”