China says it supports 'necessary' UN response to North Korea test

China's national flag flutters on the Chinese side of the Tumen river.
China's national flag flutters on the Chinese side of the Tumen river.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday (Jan 15) said it supported "necessary" action against North Korea by the UN Security Council to preserve the authority of the United Nations in the face of Pyongyang's latest nuclear weapon test this month.

The North's nuclear test angered both China and the United States and again raised questions about what can be done to stop its development of nuclear weapons.

The country is already under a wide array of international sanctions, and diplomats have said UN Security Council members were expected to discuss the possibility of adding to those.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the nuclear test violated UN resolutions and ran counter to goals for denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

"China supports the UN Security Council in taking the necessary response to this. We believe the United Nations'authority must be preserved, and the nuclear non-proliferation system must be safeguarded," the ministry cited Wang as saying, in a statement on its website.

He did not elaborate on what that response should be.

Despite differences over the issue of new Security Council resolutions, the international community must take a "clear and consistent" direction and return to six-party talks, Wang said.

"It is not to provoke confrontation, but rather to firmly advance denuclearisation goals," he added. "It is not bring chaos to the peninsula, but to seek a plan for lasting stability."

Last week, North Korea said it had tested a powerful hydrogen bomb but the United States and various experts doubt that, as the blast was roughly the same size as that from its previous test, of an atomic bomb, in 2013.

South Korea warned the North that the United States and its allies were working on sanctions to inflict "bone-numbing pain"for the test, and urged China to do its part to rein in its isolated neighbour.

The World Economic Forum withdrew its invitation for North Korea's foreign minister to attend its annual Davos meeting because of the nuclear test, a move Pyongyang said was "based on unjust political motivation" driven by the United States.

It was to have been the country's first participation in the event in 18 years.