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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
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: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?