China 'firmly opposes' N Korea's claimed bomb test

2016-01-06 11:09
The head of South Korea's meteorological administration Yun Won-tae stands in front of a screen showing seismic waves that were measured in Seoul after North Korea said it had conducted a powerful hydrogen bomb test. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

The head of South Korea's meteorological administration Yun Won-tae stands in front of a screen showing seismic waves that were measured in Seoul after North Korea said it had conducted a powerful hydrogen bomb test. (Lee Jin-man, AP)

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Beijing - North Korea's main ally China said it "firmly opposes" Pyongyang's purported hydrogen bomb test and is monitoring the environment along its border with the North near the test site.

China plans to summon North Korea's ambassador in Beijing to the Foreign Ministry to lodge a strong protest, spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing on Wednesday.

China made a similar protest after the North's last nuclear test in 2013.

Wednesday's reported test was performed in defiance of the international community and in contravention of its earlier denuclearisation promises, Hua said.

"North Korea should stop taking any actions which would worsen the situation on the Korean peninsula," Hua said.

Environment bureau technicians were monitoring conditions near the border but air quality near the bomb site was within the normal range, Hua said.

In the longer term, North Korea should return to long-stalled six-nation denuclearisation talks hosted by China, Hua said. North Korea abandoned that process in 2009, saying it would continue its nuclear programme to produce a deterrent against alleged threats from the US and other enemies.

While she made no mention of measures to respond to a test, analysts say Pyongyang's proceeding against Beijing's objections would seriously harm a relationship already under considerable strain.

That will likely include agreeing to tougher UN sanctions against Kim Jong Un's hard-line communist regime and possibly unilateral trade restrictions that could hurt the North's moribund economy.

Despite that, China remains the North's most important ally and trade partner.

Read more on:    china  |  north korea  |  north korea nuclear programme

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