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On Tuesday, Yang Jiechi, the Chinese foreign minister summoned the North Korean ambassador and informed him of its protest after Pyongyang officials confirmed they had conducted an underground nuclear test.
“China always supports the denuclearisation on the (Korean) Peninsula in an aim to safeguard the peace and stability of the peninsula,” Yang said according to a press release published by the Chinese Xinhua news agency.
The North Korean KCNA news agency said that test was part of the country’s “practical measures of counteraction” against unfriendly US policies.
But Beijing said it “firmly opposes the latest nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK),” said a statement issued by the Chinese foreign ministry.
“On February 12, 2013, the DPRK conducted another nuclear test in disregard of the common opposition of the international community,” the statement also said.
Russia’s reaction was harsher; the Interfax news agency quoted a foreign ministry source as saying that Moscow’s leadership “condemn these actions by North Korea and view them together with the ballistic rocket launch carried out earlier as a violation of the corresponding UN Security Council resolution.”
Western security analysts are hoping that both China and Russia will start to back away from protecting North Korea in the UN Security Council.
Meanwhile, in the US, the office of the Director of National Intelligence issued its own statement confirming the underground nuclear test and saying: “The US Intelligence Community assesses that North Korea probably conducted an underground nuclear explosion in the vicinity of P’unggye on February 12, 2013. The explosion yield was approximately several kilotons. Analysis of the event continues.”