China Is Reluctant to Blame North Korea, Its Ally, for Cyberattack

HONG KONG — North Korea tests nuclear weapons less than 100 miles from China’s border. It launched a missile hours before a major speech by President Xi Jinping of China on Sunday, a move Chinese analysts called a diplomatic slap in the face. Its counterfeiting of Chinese and American currency costs China millions of dollars a year.

North Korea’s history of erratic behavior has embarrassed China in many ways. But through it all, China has remained stoic about its neighbor and ally.

As evidence mounts that North Korea may have links to a ransomware attack that destroyed more than 200,000 computers globally — and hit 40,000 institutions in China — China’s response has been muted. Which raises the question: How far can North Korea go without getting disciplined by its more powerful neighbor?

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