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Kim Jong-un snubs China's invitation to military parade: source

All Headlines 14:55 August 24, 2015

BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declined an invitation from China to attend a huge military parade next month marking China's victory over Japan in World War II, a diplomatic source said Monday.

The rejection of the Chinese invitation represents the strained political ties between the allies over the North's defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons and wayward behavior, according to the source.

China has invited world leaders to attend the military parade on Sept. 3, a high-profile show of force. Many Western leaders are expected to shun the event.

"The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is not on the list of foreign leaders who finally confirmed their attendance at the Sept. 3 military parade," the source said on the condition of anonymity.

It remains unclear whether North Korea will send its ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, to the Chinese event, according to the source.

Kim Jong-un had been widely expected to visit Moscow in May for the Victory Day celebration but did not because of "internal affairs," according to the Kremlin. Instead, Kim Yong-nam attended the Russian military parade.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye will be in China from Sept. 2-4 to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the victory, though it remains unclear whether she will attend the military parade.

Military tensions on the Korean Peninsula are high.

High-level officials of the two Koreas have been holding crisis talks for a third day on Monday after failing to find a compromise in the previous two days of talks.

Tensions between the two Koreas began escalating after an investigation found that the North secretly planted land mines on the southern side of the border, which exploded and severely injured two South Korean soldiers early this month.

The South retaliated by resuming anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts along the border, dealing a blow to the regime underpinned by the tight control of information. An angered North Korea fired artillery rounds at the South earlier this week, which led to a rare exchange of fire between the two sides.

North Korea had threatened to take strong military action unless the South halted the broadcasts and dismantled loudspeaker facilities by Saturday afternoon. But just hours before the deadline, the North proposed holding the talks to defuse the crisis.

The state-run Global Times newspaper, which is published by the Chinese Communist Party, said in an editorial on Monday that China does not want the military parade to be interrupted due to the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"Many analysts believe the current tension on the Peninsula must have something to do with China's military parade on September 3," the editorial said. "Among all the driving forces, which are making the situation worse, preventing South Korea's President Park Geun-hye from attending Beijing's parade is believed to be one of them and probably a main factor."

"Is it only sensitivity from the Chinese side, or do certain forces in Pyongyang, Seoul or outside the Peninsula indeed exist, and they are gambling on this? If so, China will definitely feel displeased," it said.

"But if Beijing's parade is to be actually interrupted by any malicious interference, China will not sit on its hands and do nothing."

kdh@yna.co.kr
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