So today comes this editorial reporting on comments made by the Russian and Chinese presidents which in the eyes of this observer are completely out of form and unheard of, but in a good way.
[Chinese] President Hu Jintao commented that the launch was “not good” and that North Korea would be better off focusing on improving the lives of its people; in a meeting between the South Korean leader and Russia, President Dimitry Medvedev noted that “North Korea should put the survival of its people before the launch of long range rockets” and reminded Pyongyang that it cannot live off international aid forever. (Emphasis added.)
Whether any of the harsh words will translate into concrete actions in the capitals concerned is a moot point, of course; nevertheless, it was a change of scene (you can say that again) in the context of Russia and China, nations which used to protect North Korea every time it played with international fire like this. (Emphasis added.)
In particular, President Hu’s open opposition to the launch was surprising; though known to be regularly unimpressed at North Korea’s behavior, in past instances Beijing’s leaders have largely resisted the temptation to openly criticize North Korea. Of course, it is possible that he was simply playing to international public opinion, but speaking that way with the leaders of 53 countries representing 90% of world productive capacity forming the audience nevertheless puts a significant degree of pressure on the regime of Kim Jong Eun. (Emphasis added.)
Not surprisingly, the North responded like a spoiled child:
A spokesman for the North’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs seemed almost boastful yesterday when he retorted that the country “will absolutely not abandon the satellite launch,” and called the problem one of an international community with an insatiable appetite for confrontation rather than a North Korean state with an insatiable appetite for controversy.It’s a short editorial and well worth reading, so why not?