China & N. Korea ‘to boost military ties & provide security in Asia-Pacific’ amid tensions with US
17 Aug, 2019
China and North Korea will boost military cooperation and work together to assure security in the Asia Pacific, a high-ranking Chinese commander has said. Both Beijing and Pyongyang view US activities in the region as a threat.
Days after North Korea made headlines with fresh missile tests, a delegation from Pyongyang has met with Chinese officials in Beijing. It was headed by a high-ranking military official, Kim Su-gil, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army.
Quoted by the media after the meeting, the Chinese general who spoke to Kim signaled that Chinese-North Korean military ties only look to strengthen further.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is ready to work along North Korea to implement the important consensus, which was achieved by the leaders of our nations,” Gen. Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, said, adopting an official tone.
He also assured his audience that Beijing is “ready to contribute to peace and stability in the region together” with Pyongyang. Kim responded by saying that North Korea is eager to expand military ties and exchange experiences with their large neighbor.
In June, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to visit North Korea in 14 years. His talks with Kim Jong-un gave a new impulse to the relations between the historic allies, which have grown complicated in recent years over continued nuclear tests by Pyongyang.
Beijing and Pyongyang, which are tied by a 1961 treaty that commits them to come to each other’s aid in case of an attack, share common geopolitical rivals, like Japan and South Korea. Notably, both are also concerned about the US activities in the region.
On Friday, North Korea reminded Seoul and Washington it will not tolerate their joint military drills, which continue despite US President Donald Trump often striking an optimistic note on Korean peninsula denuclearization talks. It said no more talks will be possible unless the excercises stop, lambasting South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a “shameless man” who “mentions ‘talks’ between North and South while playing out war scenarios that plan to destroy most of our armies in 90 days.”
China is routinely annoyed by the US sending its warships and planes to the South China Sea where Beijing has territorial claims, calling the deployments a violation of its sovereignty. The list of contentious issues also includes the American arms sales to the self-governed island of Taiwan, and Washington’s vocal support of the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
Earlier this month, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, accused Beijing of “attempts to redraw the Pacific in its authoritarian image,” to which China replied that Pompeo’s attempts to “smear” its government and “sow discord” in the region were destined to fail.