Beijing has shown increasing concern towards Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme over fears that it is prompting the United States, Japan and South Korea to build up their militaries in the region.
The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) took aim at “a string of absurd and reckless remarks” from Chinese media towards the regime’s nuclear ambitions.
“The DPRK will never beg for the maintenance of friendship with China, risking its nuclear program which is as precious as its own life, no matter how valuable the friendship is,” the hard-hitting commentary said, referring to the country’s official name.
“China should no longer try to test the limits of the DPRK’s patience… (and) had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of the DPRK-China relations.”
The bylined article is the first to be published by Pyongyang’s official media to openly criticise Beijing in the same language that it commonly uses for traditional enemies, South Korea and the US.
It comes after KCNA published two editorials which vented anger at a “neighbouring country” for “dancing to the tune of others”, warning the unnamed nation that it would suffer “catastrophic consequences”.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) May 4, 2017
Those commentaries were widely believed to be in response to China declaring in February that it would ban all coal imports from North Korea, cutting off a major source of finance for the regime.
China is North Korea’s only diplomatic ally and a key trading partner.
Ties between the two countries were cemented on the battlefield during the 1950-53 Korea War, when they were both allies.
Mao Tsetung, Communist China’s founding father, said the two nations were as close as “lips and teeth”, but relations have become strained in recent years.
Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, and Kim Jong-un, the young North Korean leader, have never met as leaders … (read more)
Additional reporting by Christine Wei