A top U.S. military officer has accused China of failing to rein in its ally North Korea, following Pyongyang’s recent artillery attack near the Korean peninsula.
Admiral Mike Mullen said Wednesday in Seoul that China has more influence over North Korea than any other country, but that Beijing appears unwilling to use that influence. He said China’s “tacit approval of Pyongyang’s brazenness” has left neighboring countries asking what moves by North Korea will be next.
Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made his remarks at a news conference with South Korea’s top military officer, General Han Min-koo.
China has rejected U.S. criticism it is enabling North Korea to behave aggressively, saying such charges are irresponsible.
Tensions have risen in the region since late last month, when North Korea fired artillery on a South Korean island and Seoul’s forces returned fire. Four South Koreans died.
Next week, a high-level U.S. delegation will travel to China to pressure Beijing to do more to discourage North Korean aggression.
James Steinberg, the number two State Department official, will lead the delegation. On Tuesday, Steinberg said the dangers on the Korean peninsula stem from the fact there is no effective restraint on North Korea. He said China can play a crucial role by making it clear to Pyongyang there are consequences for its actions.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.