For China, test comes as a diplomatic affront – Joseph Kahn
From the International Herald Tribune:
China’s punctilious Foreign Ministry reserves the word “hanran,” which translates as brazen or flagrant, for serious affronts to China’s national dignity by countries that have historically been rivals or enemies.
When Japan’s recently retired prime minister visited the Yasukuni Shrine, which China’s condemns as honoring Japan’s World War II-era militarism, he was described as “brazen.” When the United States bombed China’s embassy in Belgrade in 1999, Beijing called that act “flagrant.” North Korea, a longstanding ideological ally, has had increasingly testy relations with China in recent years. But it was not until Monday, moments after it exploded a nuclear device, that it was accused of a “brazen” violation of its international commitments.
Wordplay is just one indication that the nuclear test crossed a not-so-informal red line for China, which has devoted years of painstaking diplomatic effort, and staked its sensitive relationship with Washington, on the promise that it could deliver a peaceful, negotiated solution to the nuclear standoff. [Full text]
See also “China and North Korea, Brothers No More” from Business Week.