Nuclear test strongly opposed

Updated: 2016-01-08 07:53

By Zhang Yunbi, Liu Mingtai and Zhao Lei(China Daily Europe)

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Beijing urges Pyongyang 'to halt actions that will lead to deterioration of the situation'

Beijing stated its "resolute opposition" after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea announced on Jan 6 that it had successfully carried out its first hydrogen bomb test.

Countries and international organizations said they were still examining the test's details and impact, since some key facts were believed missing in the official statement released through the Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang.

 Nuclear test strongly opposed

People watch a news report on DPRK's first hydrogen bomb test at a railroad station in Seoul on Jan 6. Jung Yeon-Je / AFP

The nuclear test, the fourth by the DPRK, was conducted at a site close to the Chinese border. Previously, the DPRK conducted three nuclear tests - in 2006, 2009 and 2013 - drawing fierce international objections and sanctions.

On the morning of Jan 6, the China Earthquake Network Center said a magnitude-4.9 quake jolted the DPRK at 9:30 am Beijing time "at a depth of 0 km".

Then the state-run Korean Central News Agency said DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un had ordered the hydrogen bomb test on Dec 15 and signed the final order on Jan 3. The test was a "total success" and was conducted "in a safe and perfect manner", it said.

In response, Beijing issued a rare written statement in the afternoon, in which the Foreign Ministry said: "We strongly urge the DPRK to honor its denuclearization pledges and stop taking any action that will lead to deterioration of the situation."

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection is "monitoring the data and will conduct an all-out radiation emergency test in the border area", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

By 1 pm, local readings of gamma radiation were normal, the environmental ministry said.

Nuclear test strongly opposed

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: "China firmly champions the international nuclear nonproliferation system".

Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye said on Jan 6 that Seoul "should closely cooperate with the international community", the ROK's Yonhap news agency reported.

Yu Meihua, director of the Center for Korean Peninsula Peace Studies of the China Reform Forum, said the United States and its allies Japan and the ROK will take Pyongyang's test as an excuse to "initiate the next arms race in the region" by having more military cooperation and deployment in the area.

Yu said fresh UN sanctions might be imposed and "DPRK's pace of economic cooperation with foreign countries will possibly see a slowdown".

The UN Security Council on Jan 6 "strongly" condemned the nuclear test after the council convened an emergency closed-door meeting.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned "unequivocally" the "underground nuclear test", saying the act "seriously undermines international non-proliferation efforts."

(China Daily European Weekly 01/08/2016 page2)