Tens of thousands of North Koreans gathered in Pyongyang to hear their leadership denounce the South’s claims that a North Korean torpedo sank one of its warships.
The North has repeatedly denied responsibility for the sinking in March: 46 sailors died in the South’s worst military loss since the Korean war.
The head of the Communist Party committee Choi Yong Rim called the South Korean president a traitor and accused him of desperately trying to provoke a new war.
An international investigation concluded that North Korea was to blame. Seoul has been trying to use a three-nation summit to push for an international response against the North via the UN Security Council.
But although Japan’s given its backing, the key to any effective action is China – and on the North Korean issue there is little sign of any action as co-ordinated as the three leaders’ symbolic tree-planting.
Beijing has resisted pressure to censure its troublesome neighbour. The Chinese premier said it was urgent to avoid clashes and to ease tensions between the two sides.