China asks North to keep envoys safe

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China asks North to keep envoys safe

China deplored rising tension on the Korean Peninsula yesterday, but said its embassy was operating normally in the North Korean capital and asked authorities there to ensure its diplomats and other citizens were kept safe.

North Korea told diplomats on Friday to consider leaving Pyongyang because of rising tension, but diplomatic missions appeared to view the appeal as more rhetoric and stayed put.

China is North Korea’s sole major diplomatic and financial backer, but official statements have reflected a degree of impatience at the actions of authorities under leader Kim Jong-un.

“At present, tensions on the Korean Peninsula are rising unceasingly, and China expresses grave concern about this,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

“The Chinese government has already asked the North Korea side to earnestly ensure the safety of Chinese diplomats in North Korea, in accordance with the Vienna Convention and international laws and norms.”

The Chinese Embassy, it said, was “understood” to be operating normally in Pyongyang. China would “protect the legal rights and safety of Chinese citizens and Chinese-invested organizations in North Korea.”

A ministry statement late Saturday, quoting Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said Beijing would “not allow troublemaking on China’s doorstep.”

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