North Korea criticises Blinken’s China visit as ‘begging trip’

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea on Wednesday criticised U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s recent visit to Beijing as a “begging trip” to ease tensions in what it called a policy failure to pressure China.

At one of the most significant U.S.-China exchanges since U.S. President Joe Biden took office, Blinken and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on Monday and agreed to stabilise their intense rivalry so it did not veer into conflict.

Blinken said after the meeting on Monday that he urged China to encourage North Korea to stop launching missiles as Beijing holds a “unique position” to press Pyongyang to engage in dialogue.

In a commentary carried by the North’s KCNA news agency, Jong Yong Hak, whom it described as an international affairs analyst, said the rare visit was aimed at begging for the relaxation of tensions as the “attempt to press and restrain China may become a boomerang striking a fatal blow to the U.S. economy.”

“In a word, the U.S. state secretary’s recent junket can never be judged otherwise than a disgraceful begging trip of the provoker admitting the failure of the policy of putting pressure on China,” the commentary said.

The commentary said the United States was responsible for escalating regional tensions with “anti-China complexes,” such as the QUAD grouping with Japan, India and Australia and the AUKUS pact with Britain and Australia.

“It is the height of the double-dealing and impudence peculiar to the U.S. to provoke first and then talk about the so-called ‘responsible control over divergence of opinion,'” the commentary said.

Daniel Kritenbrink, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs who was also on the Beijing trip, is expected to visit South Korea on Wednesday to brief Seoul officials on the two days of talks in China, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Sonali Paul)