HONG KONG, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- An influential Chinese air force general and writer slammed North Korea for taking Chinese food aid while not expressing "gratitude."
Maj. Gen. Qiao Liang, a frequent military commentator, said Pyongyang must start by changing its "ungrateful behavior," Hong Kong-based magazine Zijing reported Monday.
The statement comes days after the United States and China agreed to enforce a tougher resolution at the United Nations Security Council. The resolution includes economic sanctions targeting the North's weapons program and could pass this week.
Qiao said North Korea is making China "uncomfortable," adding that while Pyongyang is free to choose its own political system, China "absolutely will not tolerate this attitude of North Korea."
"For the last half-century all China did to influence North Korea was to provide unconditional aid, with no strings attached," Qiao said. "North Korea used to concern itself with China's reactions but now they don't accept our demands, and our influences seem to be diminishing."
Qiao, who often speaks on behalf of Beijing, said the key to the North Korea nuclear issue lies in U.S. hands, and that China's hands are tied. The best Beijing can do is promote dialogue among the countries concerned, he said.
The Chinese general also voiced concerns regarding the deployment of U.S. anti-missile defense system THAAD in South Korea, saying, "If the North Korea nuclear problem persists, South Korea can only accept U.S. demands to deploy THAAD."
Beijing has repeatedly warned South Korea against the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense near its borders.
In addition to taking action at the Security Council, Beijing may be working independently toward stricter regulations against the North.
North Korean ships have been banned from docking at ports in Dandong, China's border city, and Pyongyang's vessels are no longer allowed to dock and transfer goods to China, local sources said.