Asia Pacific / Politics

North Korea official media make rare strong criticism of key ally China


North Korea’s official media accused China by name on Wednesday, saying it has sided with the United States to exert more pressure on Pyongyang.

“China had better ponder over the grave consequences to be entailed by its reckless act of chopping down the pillar of (bilateral) relations,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said in rare direct criticism of the country’s most important political and economic benefactor.

A commentary released by KCNA said China should “no longer try to test the limits” of North Korea’s “patience but make (a) proper strategic option.”

The commentary was released after Chinese media and scholars have become more open in calling for tougher measures to help curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

China has been under increased pressure from the United States and many other countries to use its economic leverage over North Korea to stop leader Kim Jong Un’s regime from making progress on its nuclear and missile programs.

Through its official media, China has hinted at the possibility of cutting off its oil supply to North Korea if it carries out another nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In February, China announced the suspension of all coal imports from North Korea until the end of this year, based on U.N. sanctions imposed on the regime for conducting nuclear and missile tests.

The KCNA commentary warned Chinese newspapers to refrain from issuing “reckless remarks” and urged them to better understand why it needs to advance nuclear technologies.

“One must clearly understand that the DPRK’s line of access to nukes for the existence and development of the country can neither be changed nor shaken and that 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,” it said.

DPRK is the acronym of the country’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.