Theresa May has hit back at China over its attack on her attitude to North Korea
International discussions including Britain are understood to be ongoing about widening sanctions on Kim Jong-un’s regime to include his lucrative oil sales.
That would particularly target China as a major customer of the North Korean product. China has already stopped buying coal from the secretive state.
After Mrs May this week called on China to step up to its “key role” of influencing North Korea, a Chinese state newspaper wrote a strongly worded reposte headlined: “Beijing does not need London to teach it how to deal with North Korea.”
The Global Times, a publication of the official People’s Daily of China’s ruling Communist Party, declared: “May’s Conservative party lost many seats, turning her into a vulnerable prime minister.
“Weak people often look for opportunities to show their ‘strength’.
“Perhaps Prime Minister May doesn’t know much about the Korean peninsula. Her comments sounded just like a rehashing of Washington’s rhetoric.
“If the British government genuinely wants to protects its business and investment interests in the region, it should speak and act cautiously … rather than pointing fingers and making irrelevant remarks.”
Mrs May hit back, speaking at a press conference in Tokyo with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.
Mrs May with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
The North Korean issue has taken centre stage after the country test fired a missile over Japanese territory on Tuesday.
We need to ensure it’s not just words of condemnation but that action is taken
Mrs May told the press conference, on the second day of her three-day visit to Japan for defence and trade cooperation talks: “We condemn North Korea in the strongest terms possible for this reckless act which was a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
“In response to this illegal action, Prime Minister Abe and I have agreed to work together and with others in the international community to strengthen pressure against North Korea, including by increasing the pace of sanctions implementation and working towards the adoption of a new and effective resolution at the United Nations Security Council.”
America and South Korea staged their own show of force on Thursday, flying state-of-the-art stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea test fired a missile over Japanese territory on Tuesday
Four US F-35B fighter planes joined two US B-1B bombers, four South Korean F-15 fighter jets in the military exercises.
General Terrance J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander, said: “This complex mission clearly demonstrates our solidarity with our allies and underscores the broadening cooperation to defend against this common regional threat.
“Our forward deployed force will be the first to the fight, ready to deliver a lethal response at a moment’s notice if our nation calls.”
And in a bizarre move, North Korea released commemorative stamps to mark its successful test of an intercontinental missile,
The set includes images and descriptions of the launch in July, with one showing tyrant Kim Jong-un clapping surrounded by soldiers.
Another illustrated the missile mid-flight.
US President Donald Trump declared on Wednesday “talking is not the answer” after the regime’s latest missile test.
But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis insisted “we are never out of diplomatic solutions”.
And Mrs May said that China had an important role to play in the crisis.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis insisted ‘we are never out of diplomatic solutions’
She added: “Now we need to ensure it’s not just words of condemnation but that action is taken.
“China does have a particular position on this. They have leverage on North Korea and we believe we should be encouraging China to exercise that leverage.”
Mr Abe told the press conference with Mrs May that North Korea’s launch of a missile over his country was
“outrageous”, adding: “This is an unprecedented serious and grave threat.
“We absolutely do not tolerate the nuclear and missile development by North Korea.”
He stressed that North Korea’s missile testing was a global issue that posed a potential threat far beyond his region, to include Europe.