In a statement threatening a fresh nuclear test on Thursday, North Korea fired a rare broadside at its traditional allies China and Russia for siding with the U.S. in supporting UN sanctions.
The North said "big countries" that should be leading the way in establishing "fairness and order" in the world had been pressured by the U.S. and "relinquished basic principles that must be protected."
Although the North did not name the "big countries," it was likely referring to China and Russia, which are permanent members of the UN Security Council.
North Korea was apparently irked that China, which stood by it even after it sank the Navy corvette Cheonan and shelled Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, on Tuesday backed tougher UN sanctions against the North.
China, meanwhile, issued a mild warning against another nuclear test. "We hope the relevant party can remain calm and act and speak in a cautious and prudent way and does not take any steps which may further worsen the situation," Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
The People's Daily reported that China's leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping told an envoy sent by South Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye that he hopes for speedy resumption of the six-party talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
Xi's comments came after the North on Wednesday announced there will be no more talks about its nuclear program.