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Chinese editor suspended for article

BEIJING — A well-known editor of an influential Communist Party journal said Monday that he had been suspended after writing an article for a British newspaper saying that China should abandon its ally North Korea.

The editor, Deng Yuwen, told the South Korean paper Chosun Ilbo that the Foreign Ministry had called the Communist Party’s Central Party School in Beijing to complain about his article in The Financial Times.

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In the article, Deng argued that China’s strategic alliance with North Korea was ‘‘outdated’’ and that the wayward ally was no longer useful as a buffer against US influence.

Indeed, Deng wrote in the article, published Feb. 27, that once Pyongyang had nuclear weapons, the regime could use them against China.

Deng wrote the article as deputy editor of Study Times, a weekly journal of the Central Party School, which trains rising officials. Because of Deng’s stature, the article garnered attention in Washington and Europe and was taken by some as a sign that perhaps the new government led by President Xi Jinping was fed up with North Korea after its third nuclear test in February and would modify its support.

In a telephone interview with Chosun Ilbo, Deng was quoted as saying: ‘‘I was relieved of the position because of that article, and I’m suspended indefinitely. Although I’m still being paid by the company, I don’t know when I will be given another position.’’

Deng declined to comment Monday afternoon.

Chinese government policy makers have shown little sign of paying heed to Deng’s advice on Pyongyang.

China backed a new round of UN sanctions imposed following the third nuclear test. But as is often the case with sanctions, the question became how seriously China would enforce them.

Official Chinese statements routinely say that sanctions are not the solution to the North Korean problem.

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