The death of Kim Jong-nam may add further tension to China’s already strained relations with its troublesome neighbour, analysts say
China and North Korea are ­headed for another round of ­tensions and uncertainty if the death of Kim Jong-nam is ­confirmed as an assassination by agents of his half-brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, ­diplomatic observers said. Kim Jong-nam and his executed uncle Jang Sung-taek had close ties with China, and an ­assassination would no doubt irk Beijing, analysts said. But in Dandong, the biggest Chinese city on the border with North Korea, there was no sign on Wednesday of any fallout from the suspected assassination in Malaysia on Monday. Residents said all was normal and a travel agency owner, who only gave his surname Lin, said tours to North Korea had not been affected. Events to mark the 75th anniversary of late leader Kim Jong-il also went ahead at North Korea’s consulate in Shenyang, Liaoning province. Lu Chao, director of the Border Study Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, attended the event. Lu said a vice-chairman of the province’s political consultative conference was also at the ceremony, suggesting that exchanges between the two countries were continuing. In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang gave only a terse response to requests for comment on Kim’s death, saying China was closely monitoring developments. In a commentary published on its social media account, ­ , the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, said that even if the assassination was confirmed it would not have a big impact on security on the Korean peninsula. It said the region was already facing uncertainty from a joint military exercise between South Korea and the United States planned for next month, as well as Seoul’s expected deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence anti-missile system. Ties between North Korea and China have been strained as Beijing has expressed dismay over Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and missile launches and lent its weight to United Nations sanctions.

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