SEOUL — North Korea has issued a rare direct criticism of China through a commentary saying its "reckless remarks" on the North's nuclear program are testing its patience and could trigger unspecified "grave" consequences.

China, North Korea's largest trading partner and main benefactor, has been urging the North to stop nuclear and missile activities amid United States' pressure to use its leverage to resolve the nuclear standoff.

The commentary released Wednesday, May 3 by the state-run Korean Central News Agency says "a string of absurd and reckless remarks are now heard from China everyday only to render the present bad situation tenser."

It's unusual for the North to directly criticize Beijing. Previously it has couched such criticism by referring to China only as "a neighboring country." (AP)