China rejects US demands for pressure on NKorea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on tensions following North Korea’s firing of an intermediate-range missile over Japan (all times local):

6 p.m.

China’s Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, has criticized the United States for demanding that Beijing put more pressure on North Korea to rein in its weapons programs.

It said Beijing “will never accept the ‘responsibility’ imposed by the U.S.”

China accounts for about 90 percent of North Korea’s trade.

The newspaper also said sanctions should not interfere with legitimate trade between North Korea and the outside world, or harm everyday people. Sanctions are not “a tool for stifling the regime,” it said.

Later, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that “some related parties” — a reference to the U.S. and North Korea — “keep sending threatening messages both in words and deeds that include warnings of military action.”

“These kinds of actions don’t help solve the problem but further complicate the situation,” he said.

North Korea launched a missile over Japan on Friday as it protested against tough new U.N. sanctions over its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.

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2:30 p.m.

Germany’s foreign minister is calling for direct talks with North Korea in the standoff over its nuclear and missile programs.

Officials in Germany, which holds an election Sunday, have been adamant that there must be a diplomatic solution. Chancellor Angela Merkel has pointed to the negotiations that led to Iran curtailing its nuclear program as a possible model.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Monday’s edition of the Bild daily that the world should wait for sanctions to bite, but “visions and courageous steps” also are needed.

He said “a security guarantee other than the nuclear bomb” is needed for North Korea and pointed to Cold War detente as an example. Gabriel said that requires direct negotiations with North Korea and argued that the U.S., China and Russia should participate.

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2 p.m.

South Korea says the U.S. military has flown powerful bombers and stealth jets over the Korean Peninsula in joint drills with South Korean warplanes.

The United States often sends such high-tech, powerful aircraft in a show of force in times of heightened animosities with North Korea.

Monday’s flyovers came three days after North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean in apparent defiance of U.S.-led international pressure on the country. The North conducted its sixth nuclear…

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