A state-backed Chinese mouthpiece has blamed North Korea's rivals for Pyongyang's recent nuclear test. The Global Times said the testing of a hydrogen bomb claimed to have been carried out by North Korea was a direct result of the "hostile policy" adopted by the US, South Korea and Japan.
The Times, run by China's ruling Community Party and often seen echoing the administration's views, stopped just short of backing Pyongyang's action in defiance of global sanctions. The Chinese daily wrote in an editorial: "The root causes of the North Korean nuclear issue are very complicated. For one thing, the North Korean regime has chosen the wrong path for security, and for another, the US has persistently stuck to a hostile policy toward North Korea."
"There is no hope to put an end to the North Korean nuclear conundrum if the US, South Korea and Japan do not change their policies toward Pyongyang. Solely depending on Beijing's pressure to force the North to give up its nuclear plan is an illusion."
Analysts are closely examining the response from China, North Korea's key economic trading partner, following the nuclear test. Chinese government authorities earlier formally criticised Pyongyang's actions for violating the UN regulations.
In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing "remains committed to achieving the goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula." The statement followed a telephone conversation between foreign ministers of the US and China. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, are expected to hold talks on 8 January over the situation.
Pyongyang's nuclear test is seen as a failure of the veto-wielding ally, which the West says has failed to put enough pressure on the Kim Jong-un regime.