The editor of an official Chinese publication has been “relieved of his position” after writing an opinion article urging Beijing to review its ties with North Korea.

Deng Yuwen, deputy editor at the Study Times, wrote the opinion column, titled “China should abandon North Korea” in February. The piece was then published in the Financial Times, drawing praise from diplomats and several leading Chinese academics.

But the piece failed to impress the Foreign Ministry and led to his suspension, underlining the conflicted response of China’s new leadership to its ally.

“I was relieved of the position because of that article, and I’m suspended indefinitely,” Chosun Ilbo quoted Deng as saying. “Although I’m still being paid by the newspaper, I don’t know when I will be given another position.”

Deng said North Korea’s third nuclear test was a good moment for China to reevaluate its long-standing alliance with the regime. He also said that the “outdated” alliance no longer serves its purpose as a buffer against United States influence, New York Times reports.