Published : 2013-12-14 11:21
Updated : 2013-12-14 11:26
China's state media warned on Saturday that Beijing may consider imposing "some restrictions" on its relations with Pyongyang in the wake of North Korea's stunning execution of the once-powerful uncle of leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea said Friday that the 67-year-old uncle, Jang Song-thaek, who had been considered the second most powerful man in the reclusive state, was executed after a special military tribunal found him guilty of treason, marking the biggest political upheaval in the North's communist dynasty since the death of Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2011.
"The majority of the public here holds a negative attitude toward the recent events in Pyongyang," the state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial, describing the execution of Jang as a "sharp struggle domestically."
"This may impose some restrictions on Sino-North Korean ties. Chinese aid to North Korea may face more questioning, and grass-roots interaction may lose some momentum," it said.
"China needs to help the new North Korean leadership to properly solidify the sense of security it needs most, which is key to their mutual strategic trust. But at the same time, China also needs to make it clear that North Korea should adapt more to China's situation," the newspaper said. "China cannot pander to North Korea's sentiments in every possible aspect."
China, North Korea's key ally and economic benefactor, emphasized the need for stability after the execution of Jang, while calling it an "internal affair" of Pyongyang.
"It is the DPRK's internal affair," China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters on Friday, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"As its neighbor, we hope to see the DPRK maintain political stability and realize economic development and people there lead a happy life," Hong said.
South Korea has kept a close watch on North Korea, as the execution of Jang raised concerns about possible provocations by the North.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Washington is stepping up talks with its allies in Asia in the wake of the North's execution. "Stability on the Korean Peninsula is very important to us," Harf said.