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China Offers Subdued Reaction to Failed N. Korean Missile Launch

A man looks at a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by Chinese artist Yan Lei at the China International Gallery Exposition 2012 in Beijing, April 13, 2012.
A man looks at a portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by Chinese artist Yan Lei at the China International Gallery Exposition 2012 in Beijing, April 13, 2012.

China is calling for calm and restraint following the failed North Korean missile launch.

The official Chinese reaction to Friday's North Korean missile launch was subdued. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin did not stray from statements made previously.

Liu said China hopes parties can stay calm and exercise restraint, stay committed to dialogue and refrain from taking actions that worsen the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region.

He noted that China expressed its concerns and worries when North Korean announced the satellite launch, and now calls for all sides to make efforts to maintain peace and stability.

He added that China has maintained communication and coordination over this with North Korea, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. He said authorities did not receive any advance notice from Pyongyang about the Friday morning launch.

Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University, called Pyongyang's launch a complete failure.

He said for the political purposes of celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung (the nation's founder) and the new regime of Kim Jong Un, North Korea dared to fire off what he described as a “firecracker.” He added that they were too hasty and do not have the technical ability.

He said the launch is humiliating for North Korea at a very politically symbolic time for Kim Jong Un and the new regime, which he said lacks maturity and experience.

Shi said this latest development will not be good for the 20-something year old new leader who commanded the failed satellite launch, since he failed in front of the North Korean people and the military. He said he thinks this will not change the character of North Korea's leadership regime, but will at least add some difficulties as the regime tries to consolidate its power.

He pointed to two possible future scenarios - North Korea either becomes more restrained and refrains from taking any “big” actions or it moves forward with a third nuclear test, sometime in the near future.

When asked how China will vote at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday, Shi said he thinks China will support a statement to condemn the North Korean launch, but will not likely support any stronger actions.

The Chinese spokesman responded to the same question by saying his government believes the international community should only say and do things that are conducive to maintaining peace.


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