China, North Korea to upgrade ties to new level against US-led ‘encirclement campaign’

North Korea has sought to show off its triangular alignment with China and Russia as the US has faced intensifying conflict with the two countries.

Ji Da-gyum

Ji Da-gyum

The Korea Herald



July 12, 2022

SEOUL – China and North Korea  will constantly strengthen and develop their bilateral relations to a new and higher level in “unprecedented harsh circumstances,” including the US-led campaign to encircle China, the North Korean media said Monday. It also highlighted the significance of the close bond between North Korea and China.

The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, published an article commemorating the 61st anniversary of the “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” signed by China and North Korea on July 11, 1961.

The North Korean newspaper underscored that the “strategic significance and viability of the treaty has been magnified day by day in today’s complicated situations,” although around 60 years have passed since the signing of the bilateral treaty.

“Hostile forces including the United States, which regard the DPRK and China as thorns in their sides, are frantic about forming an omnidirectional encirclement of China to suppress China’s development,” the Rodong Sinmun said, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “They are also tenaciously scheming to break down the friendship and unity between the DPRK and China.”

The newspaper underlined the importance of further reinforcing bilateral ties against the US-led campaign to ramp up pressure on China and undermine the solidarity between China and North Korea, which “have been vigorously moving forward on the sole path to socialism.”

“Despite the global health crisis and unprecedented harsh circumstances, the relationship between the DPRK and China will be incessantly strengthened and developed into a new, higher level in line with the mission and spirit of the treaty,” the article read.

The article said that the bilateral treaty marked an “important milestone in strengthening strategic cooperation between the two countries.”

The bilateral treaty includes an article that legitimizes automatic intervention in case of a war outbreak on the Korean Peninsula, according to information from a database provided by South Korea’s Unification Ministry.

The mutual defense provision also provides a basis for China to interfere in the event of internal crises such as the absence of the North Korean leader.
Article 2 stipulates that both sides are obligated to adopt all measures including military assistance if one side is being subjected to an “armed attack.”

Triangular alignment
The Rodong Sinmun also underscored that bilateral ties have developed to a higher level based on the close relationship between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The Kim-Xi summits in recent years have demonstrated the two countries’ “friendly relationship that can withstand any storm and an invincible strategic relationship unbreakable by anything.”

The two leaders have further solidified their mutual confidence and friendship and developed bilateral relations between the two countries this year by exchanging personal letters on various occasions, including the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The party organ said North Korea will also continue to send its “full support to all measures taken by the Chinese party and the government to protect the country’s core interests, national development, and people’s life and safety.”

North Korea has sought to show off its triangular alignment with China and Russia as the US has faced intensifying conflict with the two countries.

Against that backdrop, North Korea has recently stepped up its criticism of the US Biden administration’s initiative to rally its allies to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region and deter Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

North Korea’s external-oriented outlets — which mainly target foreign audiences — have frequently issued statements condemning the US Indo-Pacific engagement strategy as one that concurrently targets China, North Korea and Russia.

An unnamed spokesperson for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry denounced the US on July 3 for capitalizing on the recent NATO summit in Madrid to “simultaneously suppress and encircle Russia and China” by establishing an Asia-Pacific version of NATO.

The spokesperson’s statement also claimed that the US is seeking to forge a “triangular military alliance” among the US, Japan and South Korea as an important means to achieve this goal.

North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday also released a statement supporting Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine on its official website, labeling it as a “special military operation in Ukraine to protect national security and the rights and interests of compatriots.”

The ministry lambasted the US and its allies for ramping up sanctions on Russia, claiming that the US-led pressure campaign has caused adverse impacts on the socioeconomic situation in western countries.

“Nothing can defeat the aim and will of the Russian people to pioneer their own path of development by themselves without being swayed by any pressure and blackmail,” the statement written by Kim Jong-gyu, president of the Korea-Russia Association for Promotion of Exchange and Cooperation, read.

“We send our full strong support to and show solidarity for the struggle of the Russian government and people to stand up to the US racket of anachronistic sanctions and pressure.”

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