North Korea's official news agency leapt into overdrive Wednesday, accusing Chinese politicians and journalists of fomenting trouble and outright "betrayal."
"China should no longer recklessly try to test the limitations of our patience," said the commentary released by the rogue state's Korean Central News Agency.
KCNA added, "We have so devotedly helped the Chinese revolution and suffered enormous damage." It said China has regularly "infringed upon the strategic interests" in becoming closer to the US and thus committed a "betrayal" in the process.
The rare rebuke from Pyongyang's official mouthpiece follows President Donald Trump's warming ties to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Trump administration is hoping the Chinese can convince the North Koreans to abandon a nuclear weapons programme and cease development of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching North America.
Still, the North's official news agency reiterated Wednesday it has no plans to end its nuclear programme.
"For us, nuclear is an absolute symbol of dignity and power, and it is the highest interest," said KCNA. "If we give up nuclear weapons, we will not only intensify economic sanctions, but also military intervention."
Beijing indicated Wednesday that Pyongyang was taking a dangerous course and should reconsider.
"It is reasonable for the DPRK to pursue its own security, but its nuclear and missile ambitions have put itself and the whole region into dire peril," People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's Communist Party, said in a commentary. "The DPRK must not be obsessed in a wrong path of repeated nuclear tests and missile launches that resulted in rounds of sanctions."
DPRK is a reference to North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Meantime, the US early Wednesday announced it launched an unarmed ICBM missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was the second such test in a week and comes as the Air Force works to improve the Minuteman III missile's reliability and demonstrate to North Korea the US nuclear deterrent capability.
At the same time, the US is beefing up its military resources in the Asian region as a show of force with tensions still remaining high over the North Korean threat.
The US Pacific Command said Tuesday it sent the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Cheyenne to the US Navy base at Sasebo, Japan. The US also activated its THAAD anti-missile defence system in South Korea this week at a former golf course.
Last week, a carrier strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson held drills off the Korean Peninsula and there's also been recent training in the Asia-Pacific region involving F-35 stealth fighters and bomber aircraft. The US military confirmed Wednesday two B-1B bombers left Guam's Andersen Air Force Base on May 1 to hold training missions with forces from Japan and South Korea.