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North Korea slams Chinese media, Olympic-led denuclearization

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Feb. 7 (UPI) — North Korea denied its reconciliatory overtures has any connection to a willingness to enter talks on denuclearization.

An editorial in Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun issued Thursday charged Chinese state media of falsely promoting denuclearization as a motive for détente.

North Korea has stated it has completed its nuclear arsenal and is seeking recognition as a nuclear weapons state, despite international condemnation of its program.

“At present North-South relations are making good progress,” the Rodong stated. “And right at this time the media in China with a bias for the United States and Japan are unfurling presumptuous arguments from individual experts, and blackening the festive atmosphere.”

The statement from the North Korean newspaper comes the same day Beijing-based People’s Daily published a report that includes opinions from China’s leading Korea experts.

Li Dunqiu, a specialist in Korean studies at China’s Zhejiang University, told the newspaper the détente marks definite progress and dismissed the idea North Korea’s military parade could derail relations.

“Given that North Korea’s most senior officials will visit South Korea, there is evidence North Korea supports the Pyeongchang Olympics,” Li said. “It is highly likely the military parade to mark the founding of the army is for internal [domestic] purposes.”

Li also said the parade is not likely to have a negative impact on North-South relations and its effect on the Olympics will be limited.

The Chinese expert also said South Korea’s position is important and “precarious,” given that it must balance its alliance with the United States against calls for more pressure from Washington.

The article that ran on Thursday did not mention denuclearization, but North Korea is denying other claims coming from Chinese analysts it is willing take steps toward a nuclear freeze.

“Is there a ‘denuclearization’ category in the Winter Olympic games?” the Rodong stated Thursday.

North Korea’s foreign ministry has also stated it has no interest in dialogue with the United States.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Games, and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam will be leading a delegation to the South.