With North Korea openly threatening the United States with nuclear weapons, China called Thursday for a new round of diplomacy and appears to be growing increasingly frustrated with its longtime ally.
Beijing’s calls for intervention come amid a torrent of belligerent language from Pyongyang, angered by a United Nations resolution earlier in the week expanding sanctions over its missile and nuclear program.
The latest escalation came Thursday when Pyongyang lashed out at the United States, which it called the “archenemy of the Korean people.’’
“We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are targeted at the United States,” North Korea's National Defense Commission said in a statement released by the official news service.
“Settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words,” it said.
[. . .]
Frustrated with its longtime ally, China took a surprising step against North Korea on Tuesday by voting in favor of the U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the rocket launch.
For years, Beijing has been encouraging North Korea to follow Chinese-style economic reforms, loosening the controls on its tightly controlled economy.
From 2003 to 2007, China led the six-nation talks -- which included the United States, Japan, South Korea and Russia as well as North Korea -- on the nuclear program. Analysts believe, however, it is unlikely that North Korea will return to negotiations, even under strong pressure from Beijing.
For the Chinese, Snyder said, calls for multiparty talks are seen more as a "crisis management mechanism, so they can rest easy there will not be any escalation."