China is "dancing to the tune of the U.S.," North Korea's state-run news agency charged Thursday while decrying China's support of U.N. sanctions limiting coal imports from North Korea, saying China's actions amount to those of an enemy state.
Without using China’s name directly, the article referred to "a neighboring country, which often claims itself to be a 'friendly neighbor," The Associated Press reported. The article was similar in tone to those aimed at nations North Korea considers enemies, such as the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.
Carrying an uncharacteristic byline of Jong Phil, the article called China “inhumane” for siding with U.S. and U.N. sanctions by cutting off coal imports for the rest of the year. The article also said China’s assertions that the sanctions were meant to curb North Korea’s nuclear program were only "excuses," the AP reported.
China typically sees good relations with North Korea as beneficial and as a “buffer” against South Korea and Japan, but has grown frustrated with North Korea’s frequent nuclear and ballistic missile tests, which were conducted in defiance of the U.N.
The two countries have been allies since the Korean War in the 1950s, but relations have grown more tense as China implemented many market-style reforms within its government, while North Korea only became more repressive and isolated while pursuing a dangerous nuclear weapons program.
North Korea also is also having a dispute with Malaysia over the Feb. 13 killing of leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam. Malaysian authorities have refused to return the body to North Korea while they investigate his death, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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