In Rare Move, North Korea Snaps at China
One expert calls editorial a 'frontal assault'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2017 10:37 AM CST
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on May 9, 2016.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

(Newser) – It's not just North Korea's relationship with Malaysia that may be splintering. In a rare move Thursday, the country appeared to accuse ally China of working with North Korea's enemies to "bring down its social system," reports Reuters. An editorial published by the state-controlled KCNA—with the byline "Jong Phil"—explained a country that "often claims itself to be a 'friendly neighbor'" has "unhesitatingly taken inhumane steps such as totally blocking foreign trade" under UN sanctions, reports the Wall Street Journal. This is "mean behavior," the editorial said. "This country, styling itself a big power, is dancing to the tune of the US."

Despite the fact that the editorial didn't name China, an expert on China-North Korea relations says it's a rare "frontal assault" on its ally. The AP notes it "took a tone normally reserved for North Korea's overt enemies." The editorial has been widely viewed as a response to China's announcement Saturday that it would block all coal imports from North Korea according to tightened UN sanctions, which the editorial claimed are "devoid of legal ground" and will "have a negative impact on the living of the people in the DPRK." US officials say coal exports to China earned North Korea $1.2 billion last year, roughly one third of its total export income, the AP reports.

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