North Korea’s embassy in China has posted images of its July 4 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test-launch outside its property, despite Beijing being a key supporter of recent sanctions to punish Pyongyang for breaching United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Five photos of the missile appeared outside the embassy in late July, alongside photos of the recently opened Ryomyong Street, runners at the Pyongyang marathon, and photos from April 15 ‘Day of the Sun’ celebrations.
“Newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket “Hwasong-14″ test launch success,” says a caption under one of the photos.
China is not a supporter of North Korea’s ongoing missile tests, so the appearance of the photos in Beijing’s embassy district is notable, especially following Chinese support for repeated resolutions against the North’s weapons of mass destruction programs.
“Clearly the two countries are not getting along well at present moment,” said Dr. Go Myong-hyun of the Asan Institute in Seoul. “Had they been so DPRK embassy would plaster the outside wall with pictures of Sino-NK bonhomie.”
North Korean missile tests have increasingly frustrated Beijing in 2017, with Pyongyang’s May 21 medium-range ballistic missile test taking place the same day as a much-vaunted speech by Xi Jinping at China’s Belt and Road conference.
The Belt and Road conference was the largest ever gathering of foreign leaders in Beijing in history and the China Daily did not report news of the missile test in its Monday paper edition, despite the launch having triggered headlines throughout the world.
Dr. Go said there may be technical reasons for the embassy to have posted such photos.
“It also suggests to me that China is not buying DPRK’s claim that it now possesses ICBM capability, and no such discussion is being allowed to take place through official channels,” he said. “DPRK, out of frustration and anger, is protesting through posters.”
Russia has repeatedly said at the UN that it did not accept North Korea’s claim that its missile launches matched the level of an ICBM.
Meanwhile, other photos taken at the embassy show that construction progress is ongoing at a new structure sources in July told NK News will become a hotel for visiting North Korean nationals.
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations means diplomatic agents are not allowed to use their premises for commercial purposes, and North Korea has come under fire in recent months for renting parts of its foreign embassy properties out to third-party businesses.
Main picture: NK News
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