China should make North Korea pay a"heavy price" if it went ahead with its planned nuclear test, a state-run daily said on Wednesday, expressing concern Pyongyang may even turn against Beijing, its main ally.
"If North Korea insists on a third nuclear test despite attempts to dissuade it, it must pay a heavy price. The assistance it will be able to receive from China should be reduced," state-run Global Times said in an editorial.
"Some Chinese scholars believe that China will face a diplomatic challenge if North Korea carries out a third nuclear test. They worry that Pyongyang will turn against China because of China's participation in some international sanctions against it," it said.
"In the worst case scenario, the rupture that occurred in relations between China and the Soviet Union will be repeated. Such concerns are driven by a lack of confidence in China's national strength, and they exaggerate North Korea's diplomatic irrationality," the daily said.
"Some worry Pyongyang would completely turn to the US if it fell out with China. Such concerns are unfounded," it said, adding it is unlikely that China would punish North Korea as harshly if it went ahead with nuclear test.
"Pyongyang is important to China, but not important enough to make China give up its diplomatic principles." The Chinese Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said that the comments and editorial of Global Times are not in line with the position of the ministry.
China maintains that denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is necessary and insists relevant parties solve problems through negotiations, it said adding.
Beijing is willing to maintain the Sino-North Korean friendship, but Pyongyang should do the same.
China, North Korea's main donor since the 1950-53 Korean War, has restraint Pyongyang even as one of the world's most isolated regimes prepare for its third nuclear test.