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(2nd LD) China 'firmly opposes' N. Korea's claimed H-bomb test

All Headlines 18:46 January 06, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS media reports on N. Korea-China border in last 4 paras, photo)

BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- China said Wednesday that it "firmly opposes" the first hydrogen bomb test claimed by North Korea, urging Pyongyang to live up to its commitment of denuclearization.

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the Chinese ministry will summon North Korea's ambassador to China, Ji Jae-ryong, to lodge a protest against the test of a hydrogen bomb that would mark the North's fourth nuclear test.

However, Hua indicated that China has yet to confirm whether the North's claimed test of a hydrogen bomb is true or not, saying Beijing will "assess" the test.

North Korea "carried out a nuclear test. The Chinese government firmly opposes this," Hua told a regular press briefing.

"We strongly urge the North Korean side to remain committed to its commitment of denuclearization and stop taking any actions that will make the situation worse," Hua said.

She said her ministry "will summon the North Korean ambassador to lodge a protest" against the nuclear test.

Hua also said China did not receive prior notice from North Korea about the latest nuclear test.

China is a key ally of North Korea, but it has expressed public displeasure over the North's nuclear ambition.

"China is steadfast in its position that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized and nuclear proliferation be prevented to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia," Hua said.

In a commentary, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said the North's claimed test of a hydrogen bomb is "highly regrettable."

The commentary condemned the North's latest nuclear test as a "breach of U.N. resolutions and a blow to the Korean Peninsula denuclearization process."

"The nuclear test, the fourth of its kind conducted by Pyongyang, has pushed further away any viable solution of the Korean Peninsula predicament and thrust more uncertainty into regional stability," the commentary said.

North Korea's state media reported earlier in the day that Pyongyang successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test, claiming that the communist nation "proudly joined the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states possessed of even H-bomb."

The six-party talks aimed at resolving the North Korean standoff have been stalled since late 2008. North Korea demands the unconditional resumption of negotiations, while the U.S. says that Pyongyang must first take concrete steps demonstrating its denuclearization commitments.

During the Wednesday briefing, Hua repeated that the six-party talks are "the only practical way to resolve" the North Korean nuclear issue.

Some Chinese people living near the border with North Korea felt tremors from the North Korean nuclear test, according to Chinese media reports.

China's state-run broadcaster CCTV reported that people at some Chinese schools and companies in border towns of Yanji and Hunchun were evacuated after experiencing "clearly felt tremors" on Wednesday morning.

A Chinese citizen told the website of Hong Kong-based Phoenix television that she witnessed the door of her home "shaking" and immediately got out of the house.

China is monitoring the environmental impact from the North Korean nuclear test, the Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua said, adding that the radiation level at the border with North Korea was normal.


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