China Blames U.S. for North Korea Threat, Questions Sanctions

  • Foreign ministry spokeswoman says ‘crux’ of issue not in China
  • Issue can only be resolved through ‘dialogue and consultation’

China deflected criticism that it could do more to stifle North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, questioning the effectiveness of sanctions and saying the U.S. has a responsibility to fix a problem it created.

“The crux of the Korean nuclear issue lies not in China but in the U.S. as this issue is nothing but conflict between the DPRK and the U.S.," China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing in Beijing on Monday, using an acronym for North Korea. She was responding to calls by President Barack Obama for China to tighten up sanctions against Kim Jong Un’s regime prior to its fifth -- and biggest -- nuclear test last week.

Hua Chunying
Hua Chunying
Photographer: Ng Han Guan/AP Photo

North Korea is ready to conduct additional nuclear tests at “any time,” South Korea said Monday, raising the prospect that the isolated nation may soon detonate its sixth device. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the level of threat has changed, and that Tokyo is considering unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang. South Korean President Park Geun Hye also said that the provocations raise the risk of war on the Korean peninsula.

For more on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, click here

China’s Hua said the North Korean nuclear issue can only be resolved through "dialogue and consultation."

"It has been repeatedly proven that sanctions themselves cannot solve this problem," Hua said. "Any unilateral action that aims to pursue selfish gains can only lead to a dead end."

Meanwhile, Kyodo News reported that North Korea’s foreign minister arrived in Beijing on Monday. Hua said she hasn’t heard of any arrangements for the minister’s stay in China.

— With assistance by Kanga Kong, and Kevin Hamlin

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