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A South Korean army soldier sets up a barricade at Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War.

Lee Jin-man, Associated Press

A South Korean soldier closed a military gate in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, on Sunday.

LEE JIN-MAN • Associated Press ,

China issues a veiled censure of North Korea

  • Article by: William Wan
  • Washington Post
  • April 7, 2013 - 10:33 PM

– Responding to regional worries over North Korea’s belli­cose threats, China on Sunday expressed concern and what appeared to be veiled criticism of its longtime ally.

“No one should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gains,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at an economic forum in Hainan province. Avoiding mentioning North Korea by name, Xi said, “While pursuing its own interests, a country should accommodate the legitimate interests of others.”

Xi said that the international community and its collective ­scrutiny should act as a platform for common development rather than an “arena where gladiators fight each other.”

Also Sunday, China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was “seriously concerned” about the “continuously escalating ­tensions.”

The comments from China come on the heels of several days of escalating threats by North Korea against the United States and South Korea, including the possibility of nuclear attacks. The South Korean government warned on Sunday that the North might launch a missile later this week, while a top military leader postponed a scheduled trip to Washington, citing escalating tensions on the peninsula.

Gen. Jung Seung-jo, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South Korean military, postponed plans to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Martin Dempsey, in Washington on April 16, military officials said. Jung could not be away from South Korea amid the rising tension, the officials said.

China — long seen as a key factor propping up the regime in Pyongyang — has shown signs of frustration after North Korea ignored its pleas not to carry out a recent nuclear test.

Chinese officials, who value stability above all else, are unlikely to abandon North Korea altogether in the near future. But sensing an opening amid Chinese frustrations, the Obama administration is trying to push Beijing to take a much stronger stance against its renegade ally than it has in the past, U.S. officials have said in public and private comments in recent days.

 

The New York Times contributed to this report.

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