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N.K. condemns China over comment on missile test, suspension of coal imports

2017/02/23 18:56

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state media on Thursday made a rare criticism against China over Beijing's condemnation of Pyongyang's launch of a new ballistic missile and its decision to halt imports of North Korean coal.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that a neighboring country which often claims itself to be a "friendly neighbor" is showing an unkind attitude towards North Korea, apparently referring to China.

It claimed that China downplayed the meaning of its test-fire of an intermediate ballistic missile on Feb. 12.

China's Global Times carried an interview with a military expert who said that North Korea's missile technology remains underdeveloped and China's sanctions are working.

North Korea also condemned China's latest decision to suspend imports of North Korean coal, calling the move "inhumane steps" that would hurt the livelihood of North Koreans.

China's commerce ministry said Saturday it will halt the imports of North Korean coal in line with the United Nations Security Council's sanctions against Pyongyang. The decision will be valid through the end of this year.

"It has unhesitatingly taken inhumane steps such as totally blocking foreign trade related to the improvement of people's living standards under the plea of the UN resolutions on sanctions devoid of legal grounds," the KCNA said.

China is North Korea's key economic benefactor and treaty ally, but their ties have frayed following North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea said that China is "dancing to the tune of the U.S.," referring to China's implementation of the U.N. sanctions.

"(China) is defending its mean behavior with such excuses that it was meant not to have a negative impact on the living of North Koreans but to check its nuclear program," the KCNA said.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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