North Korea's all-girl pop group Moranbong cancelled its first concert abroad and headed home, Chinese media said on Saturday.
China has long been North Korea's sole regional ally and main provider of trade and aid. But their relationship has been strained in recent years as Pyongyang has pressed ahead with internationally condemned nuclear tests.
It is unclear why the band's trip was cut short. On Chinese social media, internet users suggested that the abrupt decision may have been related to Pyongyang's announcement this week that it had developed a hydrogen bomb.
The band's arrival in Beijing was widely covered, but the show was not open to the public, the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing told AFP.
The concert in Beijing was billed as a "friendship performance" by North Korea's state-run KCNA agency, which praised the "worldwide stylish band" as "the first standard-bearer on the ideological and cultural front".