In a quandary over how to deal with its staunch ally’s third nuclear test, China today said it “firmly” opposed the latest test conducted by North Korea but remained silent on whether it would back calls for more sanctions against Pyongyang.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted another nuclear test in disregard of the common opposition of the international community,” a Foreign Ministry statement here said.

“The Chinese government is firmly opposed to this act,” it said.

Pyongyang has already conducted similar nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said that it is the firm stand of the Chinese side to bring about denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, prevent nuclear proliferation and safeguard peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

“We strongly urge the DPRK to honour its commitment to denuclearisation and refrain from any move that may further worsen the situation. To safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia serves the common interests of all parties,” said the statement.

It did not mention any plans to take any stern action against North Korea, which is heavily dependent on China’s aid as it reeled under heavy UN sanctions.

“The Chinese government calls on all parties to respond in a cool-headed manner and persist in resolving the issue of denuclearisation of the Peninsula through dialogue and consultation within the context of the Six-Party Talks,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The six-party talks, a negotiation mechanism that includes North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, were launched in 2003 but stalled in December 2008.

North Korea quit the talks in April 2009.

(This article was published on February 12, 2013)
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