China warns North Korea it will not tolerate 'troublemaking'

Warning from nation's only major ally come as speculation mounts that missile tests are imminent

China has sent North Korea its strongest warning yet not to “misjudge” the crisis on the Korean Peninsula, telling Pyongyang it “cannot shirk its responsibility” for ratcheting up tensions.

The warning from North Korea’s only major ally came as speculation mounted that missile tests are imminent. US and South Korean officials are playing a waiting game, saying the launch of mobile weapons could come “at any time”, according to Pentagon sources quoted in the US media. South Korean intelligence claims launch preparations are complete for a short-range Scud missile in addition to the Musudan, which has a range of up to 4,000km. A Rodong, with a range of 1,300km, is also ready to launch from a coastal area, claims Seoul-based Hankyoreh newspaper.

Today the G8 group of foreign ministers met in London, after which they issued a statement condemning Pyongyang’s threats in the “strongest possible terms”. Foreign Secretary William Hague said: “If [North Korea] conducts another missile launch or nuclear test, we have committed ourselves to take further significant measures.” His words echoed those of US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who said North Korea had been “skating very close to a dangerous line”.

Experts still believe war is unlikely but many fear the game of high stakes nuclear poker could result in miscalculation by either side.  Pyongyang’s warnings this week of “thermonuclear war” on the peninsula have sent South Korean, the US and Japanese military into high alert.

Beijing has added to the pressure on the North’s young leader Kim Jong-un, 30, saying there was “no need” to engage in nuclear testing and missile launches. A front-page editorial in the People’s Daily warned events might “not go according” to the North’s expectations – echoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s warning this week that the situation on the peninsula could become “uncontrollable”.

 China is by far North Korea’s biggest trade partner and a major supplier of oil, aid and military technology. During the crisis it has exhorted “all sides” to calm their belligerent rhetoric, but it seems to be growing weary of the drumbeat of war next door.  Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this week Beijing “does not allow troublemaking at [its] doorsteps.”

China also took aim at Washington, saying “sanctions, pressure, and isolation against the DPRK initiated by the United States is one of the root causes of conflicts on the peninsula.” The China Daily editorial said “any strong move” by America would worsen the crisis.

There is no sign Pyongyang is listening to the advice. In a speech to mark the first anniversary of Kim Jong-un’s succession to First Secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party after his father’s death, a senior party official said the time had come to punish the US with “substantial military operations”.

Nuclear poker: Missile alert

March 29 North Korea places  its rocket batteries on stand-by for firing at US targets.

April 5 Two medium-range missiles are loaded on to mobile launchers.

April 9 Japan sets up missile defences at sites in Tokyo.

April 11 North Korea raises at least one missile into an upright firing position, according to US officials.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Sport
The RBS Six Nations trophy at the Aviva Stadium ahead of Ireland vs England
rugby
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West found himself at the centre of a critical storm over the weekend after he apparently claimed to be “the next Mandela” during a radio interview
music
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
News
i100
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?