North Korea’s state media outlet shared harsh words on Wednesday after a major Chinese newspaper called their nation’s nuclear program into question. The feud began Sunday when People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China's Communist Party, released an editorial saying that “nuclear and missile ambitions have put [North Korea] and the whole region into dire peril.” The newspaper added that North Korea “must not be obsessed in a wrong path of repeated nuclear tests and missile launches that resulted in rounds of sanctions.”
While noting North Korea’s “reasonable” concerns over national security, the Chinese newspaper urged its ally nation to discontinue any future nuclear tests or missile launches and abide by U.N. Security Council mandates. It also echoed earlier statements made by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who clarified at Friday’s Security Council meeting that China, though allied with North Korea, was not solely responsible for disbanding their nuclear program. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has leaned on China as a means of dissuading North Korea from further developing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
On Wednesday, North Korea’s official media outlet, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), made it clear the nation would not be told what to do—even by its ally. “China should no longer recklessly try to test the limitations of our patience,” the outlet said. KCNA also pointed to China’s diplomacy with the U.S. as a sign of “betrayal” and a means of impeding North Korea’s “strategic interests.”