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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Data Scientist

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen