North Korea and its big brother China may be drifting further apart over Beijing's pressure on Pyongyang to give up plans for another nuclear test.
Kim Hyun-bin has more on how far China is willing to go to keep the North contained. China is traditionally North Korea's biggest ally, but even it is reportedly extremely concerned North Korea might make good on its threat to test a nuclear bomb,.. though a new report on Thursday indicates that Chinese officials told the U.S that it may stop short at sending an envoy to the North.
According to the Chosun Ilbo, China offered to send its envoy Wu Dawei, the special representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, to the North late last month, but the North said no.
Still, China has been doing what it can behind the scenes to prevent the test.
The South Korean daily reported earlier in the day that Beijing summoned the North Korean ambassador and another senior embassy official a total of three times in late January to call on them to reconsider their options.
The daily quoted sources in China as saying Ambassador Ji Jae-ryong was summoned on January 24th and 26th.
North Korean director general to China, Pak Myong-ho, was brought in at the end of last month.
The sources said they were told to refrain from going ahead with the nuclear test.
Sources say Ji rejected the warning and said China has no say on North Korea's nuclear project.
Some reports speculate that if China were unsuccessful in dissuading the North from conducting the test, it will be seen as a failure on China's part.
Ruling Party news paper reported Thursday that, if North Korea goes ahead with the test, the North Korean regime could suffer the consequences and Beijing might cut off vital aid.
China supplies nearly 400-thousand tons of food aid and 500-thousand tons of crude oil to North Korea each year.
That accounts for around half of North Korea's annual food shortage and 50 percent of the country's total oil consumption.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News