Beijing: Continuing the tirade against North Korea, a top Chinese expert on Sunday said Beijing has lost its "ally", with Pyongyang becoming a "nuisance" due to its defiant nuclear tests.
"There used to be some sympathy in Asia for North Korea and its striving defiance of the US and others that it sees as enemies. But now, even China, the long viewed ally of North Korea, sees North Korea`s defiance as a nuisance," a write up on state-run newspaper `Global Times` website said.
"The North has never viewed China as an ally. Even if the two ever had friendship, China has already lost North Korea", added the article by Zhang Liangui, an expert on North Korea at the ruling Communist Party of China.
"North Koreans, as well as some Chinese, believe that the country, standing on China`s east door, has been a guard of regional security for its neighbour (China). Therefore, no matter what North Korea does, China is supposed to support it to make it stable.
This prompted North Korea`s intention to use this as diplomatic leverage on China", it said.
The article went on to add that China too had leverage.
"It is the main source of the North`s food, arms and fuel. Without these, North Korea cannot sustain itself, let alone carry out nuclear tests. Nonetheless, China has never exercised this leverage", it said.
"North Korea has never cared about China`s attitude. When it needs China`s assistance, it would please China by saying flattering words such as China`s achievements of its reform and opening-up.
But after it gets what it wants, it would show indifference to the policy", it added.
The article also wonders whether North Korea is getting closer to US, as it informed the latter about its April 2012 satellite launch in December 2011.
"When the news was released, China`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs felt embarrassed when asked if it had known about the launch. This is the reality of the China-North Korea relationship," it added.
"The North sees it as less important than its relationship with the US. If North Korea gradually gets closer to the US and the US admits it as a nuclear state, the rest of the international community would follow."
Arguing that China does not have such influence, the article said: "The North knows this clearly."
As Pyongyang drifts away from China, Beijing appears to be making efforts to get closer to its arch rival South Korea, with a high-level delegation attending the new President Park Geun-hye`s swearing-in ceremony tomorrow.